NFL, Payton talking reinstatement timetable


NEW ORLEANS (WAFB) - Days after former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue vacated the punishments of four current and former Saints players, Roger Goodell is now working on a timetable for Saints head coach Sean Payton to return.

Payton's suspension was scheduled to end after the Super Bowl, but according to an ESPN source, the coach has asked the Commissioner to allow the suspension to end before the Super Bowl. When asked, Goodell didn't rule that out, "I don't want to say he could be because, again, we are in the early stages. We are starting to talk about it."

Goodell rejected an earlier contract extension for Payton because of a clause that would have voided the agreement and permitted the coach to leave the franchise if Mickey Loomis was suspended, fired or left the front office.

When asked if he would consider Payton a coaching free agent if he did not sign a new contract with the Saints, Goodell told ESPN that would be an issue for Payton and the Saints, not the league office.

The Saints are 5-8 this season without Payton and host the Tampa Bay Bucs this Sunday.

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