When the New Orleans Saints start their season Sunday by hosting the Redskins, Coach Sean Payton won’t be there due to his season-long suspension, but he’ll definitely be watching.
Payton announced in an extensive interview that he watches all the Saints games live, if he isn’t helping coach his 12-year-old son Connor’s team.
Payton was among New Orleans Saints staff suspended as a result of an NFL investigation that concluded the team ran a bounty program from the 2009 thru 2011 seasons. The league said the program offered improper cash bonuses to defensive players for hits that injured opponents.
Even though he won’t be on the sideline this season, he predicts the Saints to do well without him.
“I think this program; we’ve worked hard on it, really invested a considerable time. Coaches, everybody in that organization, we’ve overcome plenty of challenges in the past. I’m excited to watch them play,” he revealed.
Payton recounted it’s been tough to stay quiet about his penalties and he, GM Mickey Loomis and the rest of the Saints’ coaches who were disciplined are “in a very different position than the players, re players having a union.”
The players disciplined, headlined by linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who also received a season-long ban, have challenged their suspensions, with Vilma going as far to sue the league in federal court. Basketball lines
“I think ultimately our target is to get reinstated at the proper time. Yeah, it’s frustrating at times to sit back and hear plenty of things that have been painted in a certain way that you know aren’t right. But that being said, I support each one of those guys and pay attention to what is going on with Jon and the rest of those players and Mickey and Joe (Vitt) and everyone,” he announced.
While Payton was not with the team for training camp, his image was — thanks to a large poster of his face featuring the words “Do Your Job” that’s in the Saints’ practice facility.
He thanked Saints owner Tom Benson for his support and for putting up the poster, but he claimed he made the owner promise it wouldn’t be up when he returns.
” … I made him guarantee that as fast as I come back, it comes down. But we’ve always looked for ways to incentivize and get our message across. And I appreciate his support more than anything in the world,” he announced.
He also said he won’t feel threatened if the team was to excel without him. Rather, it would make him proud of what he has helped to build in New Orleans.
“This is our team. Not any individual. A bunch of folks have worked awfully hard together to have success. We have always preached about eliminating the ‘I’s’ and ‘me’s’ and creating a team component to the sport,” he announced. “Coaches, offensive line, defensive line, the whole building, everyone’s got a part in it. Collectively we’ve managed to have a large amount of success, and lots of people have worked hard to make that happen.”