The possibility that Bill Parcells will lead the New Orleans Saints on an interim basis continues to be a primary storyline at the NFL owners meetings.
But there is no rush for the Saints to hire Parcells before Payton’s suspension begins Sunday. First, Payton has yet to announce if he plans to appeal his suspension to Commissioner Roger Goodell. Second, we don’t know yet if Parcells will ultimately desire the short-term job.
But there is enough in place for us to know this is a real possibility for the Saints. The true deadline for a deal with Parcells is a couple weeks away. Teams can begin offseason workout programs on April 16. If the Saints choose to start that date, they would want to have Parcells in place a few days before. General manager Mickey Loomis will be on the job until his suspension at the start of the season begins for eight weeks. He could handle all operations for the next few weeks.
What could happen in the meantime? Plenty.
Payton could walk away from the Saints beginning Sunday and continue to play golf and visit with his longtime friend Parcells. They could go over all facets of the organization, personnel, schemes, staff, etc. That wouldn’t violate any NFL rules as Parcells isn't a club employee. Just two friends talking football. The Saints, in the meantime, could explore some alternative options in the event Parcells decided against the job. In that time frame, the Saints could also satisfy the Rooney Rule. Before New Orleans begins its offseason program, Parcells could make up his mind to take the job and – presto – the Saints would have someone ready to take over that was as up to speed as an outsider could possibly be.
Will it happen? Like we reported last week when talk of Parcells to the Saints first surfaced, we don’t know. But this is the buzz in coaching circles right now as the Saints and Parcells do a little dance. It’s starting to make more sense too.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune