New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton drew a lot of heat for his choking gesture directed toward Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman a few weeks ago.

The Saints and Falcons meet again Sunday in a critical NFC South divisional matchup.

Payton made the gesture in what was perceived as a reference to the Falcons’ epic Super Bowl collapse against the New England Patriots.

Now, Payton is remorseful for his actions.

“Listen, the mistake I made that night was letting, obviously, my emotions get the best of me,” Payton said of the gesture.

It’s a drastic change from when Payton first spoke about the gesture following the game, when he stated that he didn’t remember doing it.

“It’s the same thing we talk about with our players all the time” Payton continued.

“And it wasn’t good. I felt like, man, as that game went on, it even affected me just in calling plays. I’ve got to be better that way. It was really more a frustration from some of the officiating. But you learn, even when you’ve been in this thing as long as I have. It’s something that you regret. And you just look back on it and think, ‘What are you doing?’

“It bugged me for the better part of a week. Just know that as the head coach, you’re always talking about being composed. And I felt like, at that point in the game, I wasn’t.”

Payton apologized to Freeman via text.

“I’ve got a ton of respect for him and the competitor he is,” Payton said. “Those guys that we line up with, they’re in our division. They’re rivals. And yet there’s a great deal of respect, I think, among the players.”

Freeman said he will speak to Payton but said there are no hard feelings over the gesture.

“I’ll talk to him,” Freeman said, according to ESPN. “It ain’t no grudge. I don’t take it personal at all. He’s a competitor. He’s just a top competitor. He loves his job. He’s real passionate about it.”