Friday, March 30, 2012

Sean Payton to appeal year-long suspension; Parcells put on hold

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton has decided to file today an appeal of his season-long suspension with the NFL, a person familiar with the decision said.

The person spoke to The Associated Press today on the condition of anonymity because the Saints have announced Payton's plan to appeal.

That person said the appeal will also ask NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for his guidance on the parameters of the suspension.

Goodell suspended Payton, starting Sunday, for his role in the Bountygate program– which offered cash incentives for knocking opposing players out of the game.

At the NFL meetings this week in Florida, Goodell said  Payton could have  some contact with the team but would not go into detail.

"The decision to appeal is for Sean Payton to make and announce as he deems appropriate," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.  "If there are appeals, the commissioner will arrange for expedited hearings, as he stated at the league meetings."

There is no set timetable for the appeal or how long it will take to resolve which could affect whether or not Bill Parcells comes out of retirement.  Parcells said he would consider coaching the Saints if his former assistant and friend Payton was banned for a year.

Asked today, at a spring training game near his home in Jupiter, Fla., Parcells declined to answer any questions about coaching the Saints.

"I know better than that," he said.

Parcells, Payton and Saints general manager Mickey Loomis played a round of golf together earlier this week to talk about the team's situation and there was speculation they asked him if he was interested in helping out his pal Payton in the interim.

"We played golf," Parcells said after the game.  "We really didn't talk about the job.  They told me we'd be in touch."

Now, if the suspension is reduced, the likely hood of Parcells coming out of retirement for a short-term coaching gig seems to be a far-fetched solution.

The Saints have three candidates among the Saints assistants who could serve as interim coach during Payton's absence: defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael or offensive line coach Aaron Kromer.

Payton said any of the three would be good candidates but expressed concern about saddling them with the interim head coach's additional duties.

The NFL found Payton guilty of initially lying to officials about the bounty.

Payton apologized for his role in the program and took "full responsibility" for his part, but was punished with what many considered an over zealous commissioner.

The NFL claims as many as 27 players could be rounded up for sanctions in the scandal.

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