League says there's been no communication with suspended New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton on his reinstatement
No one from the NFL office has communicated with suspended New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton about his reinstatement, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Thursday. ESPN reported Wednesday night that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had been in contact with Payton about being reinstated.
ESPN also reported Goodell didn't eliminate the possibility of Payton rejoining the franchise before the Super Bowl.
No one from the NFL office has communicated with suspended New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton about his reinstatement, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Thursday.
"I don't want to say he could be because, again, we are in the early stages," Goodell told ESPN as he left for the airport after the NFL owners meetings in Irving, Texas. "We are starting to talk about it."
Aiello said there have only been internal discussions about Payton's reinstatement, and not with Payton. The league originally said Payton could apply for reinstatement from his year-long suspension for his role in the alleged bounty program on Feb. 4, one day after Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.
Interim coach Joe Vitt said Thursday how it would be a huge advantage to have Payton back before the Super Bowl, though.
"Sean's the head coach of this football team," Vitt said. "Every player, coach and member of this organization misses him. The spark that he's going to give us and leadership he's going to give us ...we're talking about a man that's already won a Super Bowl and he's got Hall of Fame credentials. He's got the chance to be the fastest coach ever to reach 100 victories in the history of the National Football League. His body of work and credentials speak for itself."
There still remains the hovering issue of Payton's contract status as the Saints' season will more than likely end after the final three regular-season games. The NFL voided Payton's contract extension that was announced by the team in September 2011 and would have extended his deal through the 2015 season.
It appears Payton will become a coaching free agent if he and the Saints fail to successfully negotiate a new contract by the time the league reinstates Payton. A league source confirmed in early November that Payton was allowed to negotiate a contract with the Saints despite the strict no-contact policy as part of the terms to Payton's suspension.
The mass speculation has been that Payton would be a highly sought after by Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys if Payton were to become a free agent and if Jones fired Coach Jason Garrett. Payton's immediate family also lives in the Dallas area.
Payton hasn't responded to several attempts for an interview, including this week, since the story of his voided contract came to light.
"Of course there's a scare when immediately they come out and say, 'Sean Payton is a free agent and has the ability to go wherever he wants,'" Drew Brees said in early November when the news of Payton's voided contract broke. "I believe and it seems like that story has been blown out of proportion. I kind of learned about it (the voided contract extension) just like everyone else did. My focus is on our team and winning.
"I know that's what Sean would want us to do."
League says there's been no communication with suspended New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton on his reinstatement | NOLA.com
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