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Bill Parcells won’t coach the New Orleans Saints while Sean Payton serves a one-year suspension connected to a program that the National Football League says paid the team’s players to hurt opponents, ESPN reported.
The Walt Disney Co. unit said it got the information from unidentified people on the team. It said Parcells, who won two Super Bowl championships as coach of the New York Giants, would remain retired.
Penalties for Payton, General Manager Mickey Loomis and assistant coach Joe Vitt were upheld yesterday by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Loomis was given an eight-game ban and Vitt a six-game suspension, part of the harshest punishment ever imposed on an NFL team and its leadership.
Saints spokesman Greg Bensel declined to comment on the report in an e-mail. Jimmy Sexton, Parcell’s agent, didn’t return a telephone message left at his office seeking comment.
Parcells, 70, has a close relationship with the 48-year-old Payton, who was an assistant under Parcells for four years with the Dallas Cowboys. When Payton’s suspension was originally announced, he contacted Parcells, calling him a mentor and father figure.
There has been minimal communication between the two in the past week, and Parcells told Payton over the phone that he preferred to remain retired, ESPN said. The team may look within the organization to find its interim coach, according to the network.
Parcells has a 172-130-1 record and is the only coach to lead four different NFL franchises to the playoffs, with the Giants, New England Patriots, New York Jets and Cowboys. He was the Miami Dolphins’ executive vice president of football operations from 2008 to 2010.
Goodell said yesterday that he would consider whether to reinstate the punished coaches and executive when their suspensions end. Payton, Loomis and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who received an indefinite ban that he did not appeal, have all apologized for their roles in the bounty program. Williams is now defensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams.
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