Gayle Benson doesn't plan on going anywhere.
The new owner of the New Orleans Saints has stated that several times. She put it in writing Thursday in a letter sent to the owners of the NFL's other 31 teams that was obtained by The Advocate.
"I will own and operate this franchise until my death and do so with the same drive and focus towards success that my husband displayed through his life," she wrote.
Gayle Benson took over control of the Saints and Pelicans when her husband, Tom Benson, died last month. She stated in the letter that it was Tom Benson's desire for her to have "full voting control of the Saints and to serve as controlling owner."
She pledged to the other owners she will manage the franchise with strong leadership and continue along "the visionary path my husband forged for the Saints over the course of the ownership." She said New Orleans has sold out its home games since 2006 and there is a waiting list for season tickets that exceeds 60,000 people.
"We will continue to operate with this same sense of pride and good business practices going forward," Gayle Benson wrote. "To that end, we will carry on my husband's wishes and be a leader in the very important principles of diversity, inclusion, innovation and best practices."
Benson wrote she is confident in the executives who were hired by her husband, which included team president Dennis Lauscha and general manager Mickey Loomis.
Gayle Benson said during an interview last month that she fully trusts the organization's leadership and does not plan to make any immediate changes. She did, however, note that she would be willing to fire anyone she believes is underperforming in their roles.
While Gayle Benson will trust her executives to do their jobs, and help her along the way, she is also confident in her ability to lead the team. She worked closely with her husband for several years and attended the league's annual meetings every year since 2004.
"One of the core values of my husband was his daily interaction at the office, attending executive meetings and being briefed on all matters large and small," she wrote. "He even insisted on having lunch every day in our team cafeteria so that our staff would have the chance to talk with him and share their thoughts and ideas.
"I was with him each and every day, in each meeting and will continue that tradition. Like Tom, I will continue the same commitment to the League, the organization, and staff. Our franchise is successful because of the foundation he has laid. It is important that these core values do not change."
The Saints have continued to operate as usual since Gayle Benson took over. The team recently signed wide receiver Cam Meredith and continues to host prospects ahead of the draft, including former Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson.
The New Orleans Pelicans, which she also owns, are preparing for a playoff matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers, and GMB racing recently had a horse qualify for the Kentucky Derby.
Read the full letter below:
Gayle Benson sent this letter to the NFL’s owners. pic.twitter.com/Bdtoi3QV5m— Nick Underhill (@nick_underhill) April 12, 2018