Fresh off his seven-week bounty-related suspension, New Orleans interim coach Joe Vitt did not wait an extra second to rejoin the team in Florida.
After watching Sunday's game from an undisclosed location in the Tampa area, he flew back to New Orleans with the Saints after they beat the Buccaneers 35-28 in a game Vitt was barred from attending.
On Monday, he said his suspension was excruciating.
''I agonized,'' he said. ''It's hard to go through that. I've been with these guys for seven years. I care very deeply for this team. When you're not there on game day, win or lose, with guys that you respect and love, it was a challenge.''
The Saints losing their first four games under his interim replacement, offensive line coach Aaron Kromer, made it even more agonizing. New Orleans has won two in row but still faces an uphill battle to climb into playoff contention a year after finishing 13-3.
First on Vitt's agenda is fixing the NFL's worst defense statistically.
The Saints (2-4) ...