Sean Payton Makes First Public Comments Since Being Reinstated By The NFL After Bountygate Allegations
The New Orleans Saints Head Coach met with the press Wednesday for the first time since being reinstated by the National Football League.
Sean Payton says he met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for four hours Monday before his reinstatement was announced on Tuesday. Of the many questions he was asked by reporters, he was asked if the Bounty situation came up. Payton replied that it's time to move on:
I think turning the page is very important. It's no different then what we teach our players when you feel like maybe a ball doesn't go your way. In other words, you go on to the next play. And this is a much bigger scheme of things, (but) it had to be the same approach, I think, by me. We're at a point where it's time for closure. It's time for us as a team, it's time for us as a league to take this next step forward.
Payton also admitted how difficult it was to watch the Black and Gold during his suspension, which he said was outside of anyone's control:
It's like anything else, you're watching from afar and there's certain things that you would see and naturally it becomes at times frustrating.
But Payton says he had to realize the coaches and players were dealing with an unprecedented situation:
I'm thankful to the staff. I'm thankful to Aaron Kromer, his contributions as he had to move into that position. Thankful to Joe Vitt, and he's been really a tremendous ally and supporter and close friend.
Payton says the hardest part for him was not being allowed to have personal interaction with the players and coaches, aside from a football standpoint, but as his friends.
Another hot topic that was discussed during Payton's suspensions was whether he would be back in New Orleans to coach. He became essentially a free agent after the NFL voided his current contract extension that the league says it never approved. The Dallas Cowboys, a team he spent 2003-2005 as an assistant coach with, was rumored to be a possible destination for the current Black and Gold coach. But Payton says during contract negotiations, in which he recently signed a new multi-year deal, he never considered going to another team.