Bloomberg News

Parcells’ Coaching Return With Saints Is Possible, Payton Says

March 27, 2012

Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints said it’s possible Bill Parcells will be the team’s interim coach while Payton is suspended for the National Football League season.

Payton, a former assistant under Parcells, said today that he speaks regularly with the two-time Super Bowl-champion coach with the New York Giants. He said the relationship was similar to that of a child and parent.

“I’ll have a chance to see Bill and I normally would any time I’m in this area,” Payton said in a televised briefing with reporters at the NFL owners meetings in Palm Beach, Florida. “I think we’d be considering all options, to be fair, and do our homework on each option before making a decision.”

Payton was suspended for the 2012 season by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last week because of his role in allowing and covering-up a Saints bounty program that included financial bonuses for injuring opposing players. The punishment, the stiffest ever imposed on an NFL team and its leadership, included a $500,000 fine, the loss of two draft picks and a half-season suspension for team General Manager Mickey Loomis.

Payton, 48, said today that any decision on the Saints’ coaching situation might be pushed back depending on whether the team decides to appeal the suspensions. ESPN reported yesterday that Payton had spoken with Parcells about coaching the Saints this season.

Payton said he and Parcells have a “dialogue” in which he regularly seeks advice. He said talking with the former coach this week would be “pretty normal.”

‘Adviser and Parent’

“The specifics in regards to him coaching, and I’ve read a lot of the reports, that would be something that Mickey and I and our owner and Bill would deal with at a later time,” Payton said. “Right now it’s been more as an adviser and a parent, and that’s what he’s been to me.”

Parcells, 70, is the only coach to lead four different NFL franchises to the playoffs. He was 172-130-1 in 22 seasons, and coached the Giants to Super Bowl victories following the 1986 and 1990 seasons.

Payton “sought my counsel on some of the aspects of the situation in New Orleans,” Parcells told the New York Daily News.

This season’s Super Bowl is set for the Saints’ home field, the Superdome, in February 2013.

Parcells last coached the Dallas Cowboys from 2003 to 2006, when Payton served as quarterbacks coach and assistant head coach for the first three years.

“He’s a great teacher, certainly I’m biased having worked with him, and he’s a Hall of Fame head coach,” Payton said. “There are also some things set up in the framework of our program that would be exactly how he would have set those things up had he been the head coach back in ‘06. So there is some carry over that way.”

Saints Apologies

Payton, Loomis and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who received an indefinite ban, all apologized for their roles in the bounty program after the league announced the penalties. Payton said the past week has been challenging and looks forward to when he can rejoin the Saints.

“The biggest challenge is, this is potentially the first of 39 years where you’re not directly involved in football for a season,” Payton said. “But that being said, I look forward to getting back in this position and I look forward to winning. We’ll do that.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net


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