Sean Payton does not have a contract to return to the New Orleans Saints just yet.
But the suspended head coach, out for the entire season because of his role in the club’s bounty scandal, has started the process to achieve reinstatement.
ESPN’s Ed Werder reports the Commissioner’s office has been in contact with Payton about the process and has not ruled out the possibility Payton could be reinstated before the Super Bowl, which will be played in New Orleans.
Originally, the suspension was supposed to carry through the Super Bowl but Payton has requested that he be allowed to return after the conclusion of the regular season, according to the report. More communication on the matter is expected in coming weeks.
Former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue upheld the findings by Goodell into the bounty scandal but vacated punishments given to the players. It could be from a P.R. standpoint that it makes sense to allow Payton back to the Saints before the Super Bowl when there will be high-profile events the coach can attend. Of course, that hinges on Payton getting a new contract done with the Saints.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune