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WhoDat!656 03-28-2012 06:44 AM

Payton continues to prepare for off-season
PALM BEACH, Fla. ó The setting seemed incongruous for such an unsavory subject. But nearly a week after he was suspended for the 2012 season amid revelations of a bounty system employed by the New Orleans Saints, Coach Sean Payton stepped in front of a towering arrangement of pink blossoms in the lobby of the Breakers Hotel and publicly addressed for the first time his role in the scandal that has shaken the franchise and preoccupied the rest of the N.F.L.

This was a brief stopover for Payton, whose suspension is scheduled to begin Sunday. He is still weighing an appeal, which could buy him a few more weeks to take care of what he said was a lengthy to-do list before he must step aside from the Saints. Payton spent only Tuesday at the league meetings, and said that he planned to meet with Bill Parcells on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the possibility of Parcellsís stepping in to take Paytonís place. The Saints would have to interview at least one minority candidate to comply with the Rooney Rule before hiring Parcells.

Payton spoke for almost 18 minutes to a small group of reporters in a hastily arranged news conference. Most of the members of the news media at the meetings were occupied in a breakfast with all the coaches of A.F.C. teams.

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