They have not exactly been placed on double secret probation and allowed back in.
But Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis and Joe Vitt will all be able to attend Sunday’s game between the winless New Orleans Saints and the San Diego Chargers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The coach, general manager and interim head coach, all suspended for their roles in the Saints’ bounty scandal, will be on hand as quarterback Drew Brees attempts to pass late Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas for the most consecutive games with a touchdown pass, according to Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
“Drew Brees requested permission for Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis, and Joe Vitt to attend Sunday night's game in which Drew will attempt to set the record of 48 straight games with a touchdown pass,” the NFL said in a statement, according to the report. “Commissioner (Roger) Goodell has granted that permission. Coaches Payton and Vitt and Mickey Loomis will be permitted to watch the game in a private area of the stadium and will have no contact with the team.”
Where that private area is, who knows? The guess would be a suite somewhere in the stadium. This comes a week after Gregg Williams, the former Saints defensive coordinator that was suspended indefinitely by the NFL, was allowed to attend a St. Louis Rams game at the Edward Jones Dome.
Payton had said Tuesday morning that he would not attend the game. The Saints’ season could soon be about things other than team accomplishments. The club is reeling without a victory and it’s hard to say the Saints will pull out of it anytime soon. It’s also hard to say you could not see this coming after such a turbulent offseason.
Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs
Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune