Sean Payton has already begun to serve his one-season suspension following an investigation into the New Orleans Saints NFL bounty program and now sources close to the coach with details of his suspension contract have revealed that Payton is essentially taking part in an NFL exile. Under terms of his suspension Payton can not speak with members of the New Orleans Saints organization or anyone else around the NFL.
If Payton does run into a player, coach or any of the NFL’s management he must report those interactions with league executive Ray Anderson.
On a business level that means Payton can’t help deliver strategy, motivate players or make decisions that will affect his team well into the future. On a personal level it would be foolish to believe many if not most of Sean Payton’s friends are in the NFL, essentially his NFL suspension will put those friendships on hold for a full NFL season.
Even Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis who live one mile apart from each other in Florida (they both own beach houses) can not say hi to one another in passing without violating NFL rules.
In the meantime the New Orleans Saints have been fined $500,000 and have been stripped of two second-round draft picks in the 2012 NFL Draft and the 2013 NFL Draft.
Interim head coach Joe Vitt will be able to coach the team throughout the pre-season but will then be forced to serve a six game regular-season suspension of his own before returning to action.
While complete and other exile from the NFL until the day after Superbowl 2013 might seem like a harsh punishment former New Orleans Saints (now with the St. Louis Rams) defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has been served with an “indefinite” suspension from the league.
In the meantime NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will soon punish Saints players who took part in the bounty program. It is believed that between 22 and 27 current and former players were involved in the bounty program.
Here’s some of the last thoughts we’ll officially hear from Sean Payton until 2013: