NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says his office has communicated with suspended Saints head coach Sean Payton about his eventual reinstatement, and Goodell did not eliminate the possibility of Payton rejoining the franchise before the Super Bowl.
Payton would like an adjustment on the suspension so it would end at the conclusion of the regular season as opposed to after the Super Bowl, a source close to the coach suggests.
Goodell said Wednesday that he and Payton briefly have discussed the reinstatement process they will follow and that more focused conversations are planned after the upcoming holidays.
With former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue issuing final determinations on the Saints’ bounty scandal Tuesday, Goodell was asked whether he might permit Payton to return to the NFL from his historic season-long suspension before he is eligible for consideration, which is immediately after the Feb. 3 Super Bowl in New Orleans.
“I don’t want to say he could be because, again, we are in the early stages,” Goodell said as he left for the airport after the NFL owners meetings in Irving, Texas. “We are starting to talk about it.”