=== Goodell reinstates Payton ===
New York, NY (Sports Network) - NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has reinstated
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, effective immediately.
Payton was suspended for the entire 2012 season for his role in the Saints'
Goodell and Payton met Monday in New York.
"We had a very productive discussion," said Goodell in a statement Tuesday.
"Sean fully complied with all the requirements imposed on him during his
suspension. More important, it is clear that Sean understands and accepts his
responsibilities as a head coach and the vital role that coaches play in
promoting player safety and setting an example for how the game should be
played at all levels. We are committed to delivering football that fans love
and the safety players deserve. Coach Payton agrees and I look forward to
working with him going forward to do that."
Payton can now attend the Super Bowl in the Superdome next week and can resume
his duties with the Saints.
"I am thankful today commissioner Goodell has granted me reinstatement," said
Payton in a statement Tuesday. "As I stated back in March, I, along with
(general manager) Mickey Loomis, take full responsibility for all aspects of
our football program.
"I clearly recognize that mistakes were made, which led to league violations.
Furthermore, I have assured the commissioner a more diligent protocol will be
"Lastly, I feel we have learned from our mistakes and are ready to move
forward. I want to thank our owner, Mr. Benson and all of our great fans for
the overwhelming support throughout this past year.
"I am excited to be back as head coach of the New Orleans Saints!"
Without Payton this season, the Saints struggled to a 7-9 record under interim
coaches Joe Vitt and Aaron Kromer. Vitt was suspended for the first six games
of the season for his role in the scandal.
In six seasons at the helm of the Saints, Payton has guided New Orleans to a
62-34 record and four playoff appearances, including the franchise's only
championship when it defeated the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.
"We are all thankful that Sean Payton has been reinstated," said Saints owner
Tom Benson in a statement. "We have a lot of work to do and we are in the
middle of it right now. He is our head coach and we welcome him back. We look
forward to a great 2013 season and making another run at a World Championship
for our fans!"
Payton and the Saints worked out a five-year contract extension through the
2017 season earlier this month. The two sides had originally agreed to an
extension last year, but the league rejected the initial agreement due to
unspecified language in the contract.
01/22 10:57:50 ET