Saints' Payton gets back to work

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 23, 2013
Saints_defeat_colts_6fbe
Sean Payton returned to work Wednesday following a nearly yearlong suspension for his role in the Saints' bounty program. The newly reinstated New Orleans Saints coach watched Senior Bowl practice and planned to meet later in the day with the staff to evaluate a defense that struggled during a 7-9 season and opened with four straight losses. Payton said there's plenty of work to do, from fixing the defense to replacing departed coaches and evaluating staff and players. Then, of course, getting ready for the draft and studying available free agents. Payton said during a 45-minute meeting with reporters that he and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell agreed not to discuss specifics about whether there was an organized bounty system or of their 4-1/2-hour meeting on Monday. ''We're at a point where it's time for closure. It's time for us as a team, it's time for us as a league, to take this next step forward,'' Payton said. Goodell lifted Payton's suspension Tuesday, nearly two weeks earlier than expected. The coach watched the Senior Bowl's North squad practice from the stands, chatting with assistant head coach Joe Vitt and general manager Mickey Loomis. The NFL suspended Payton, Vitt, Loomis and four current or former Saints players, including linebacker Jonathan Vilma, after an investigation found the club had a performance pool offering cash rewards for key plays, including big hits. The player suspensions eventually were overturned. Payton said he wasn't involved in the appeals process. ''I followed the process but I wasn't really privy to how those appeals went, how the meetings went, the specifics, and I'm still not,'' he said. Payton said his situation was different because as head coach, ''it all falls under your umbrella.'' He said he wouldn't allow himself to get ''disappointed or upset, and I was just going to be patient to keep waiting and making sure I did everything the right way.'' He said the challenges of rebuilding after a losing season will be painful and that his return won't guarantee an immediate return to winning. Payton said the Saints' struggles defensively and running the ball early in the season, along with problems with special teams at times, made it tough to win - with or without the bounty scandal. Payton, citing advice from Bill Parcells, noted that his return won't mean an automatic return to big success. It was the Saints first losing season since 2007 ''Coach Parcells said to me that this mind-set that you're back and all of a sudden you're back to winning 11, 12, 13 games doesn't exist, because you very well could win five the next year,'' he said. ''He's right. We've got a lot of things we've got to correct to get to where we want to go. That's just the truth.'' He said he hadn't started talking to Loomis regarding any possible changes in the coaching staff. The defense allowed 7,042 yards, the most ever in a season, under first-year coordinator Steve Spagnuolo but also improved enough to later record the club's first shutout in 17 years.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Was firing Jeff Hornacek the wrong move for the Suns?

Panthers picked wrong day to play worst game of the season

Was Peyton Manning paid for Budweiser mentions?

Cam Newton walks out of postgame press conference

Eli did not look thrilled after Peyton locked up Super Bowl

Rick Reilly sends awkward tweet during Super Bowl 50

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Peyton Manning gives Papa John a kiss after game

Panthers' Josh Norman crying after losing Super Bowl

Peyton Manning ‘going to drink a lot of Budweiser’ after win

Where Peyton Manning ranks among Super Bowl era QBs

Peyton Manning declines to comment on possible retirement

Mike Carey not heard from again after being wrong earlier

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Aqib Talib wipes out on NFL Network

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Five biggest boneheaded plays of Super Bowl 50

WATCH: Cam Newton gives questionable effort to recover fumble

Lions say Calvin Johnson's future still not determined

How Louisville basketball bungled their self-imposed ban

Ted Ginn Jr. whiffs on football twice on one play, results in Panthers turnover

Kony Ealy makes one-handed interception of Peyton Manning

Mike Carey gets another call wrong on incomplete pass in SB

Steph Curry beats Panthers' "Keep Pounding" drum

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

WATCH: Panthers' Jonathan Stewart leaps over pile for TD

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker