Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints approached two-time Super Bowl champion Bill Parcells to discuss him becoming the team’s interim coach during Payton’s suspension for the National Football League season, according to ESPN.
Payton, who had been an assistant under Parcells, has spoken “numerous times” with his mentor in the past week, and has discussed the possibility of Parcells coaching New Orleans this season, the network said on its website, citing several people in the league that it didn’t identify.
The news comes one week after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Payton was suspended for the 2012 season because of his role in allowing and covering-up a Saints bounty program that included financial bonuses for injuring opposing players. The punishment, the stiffest ever imposed on an NFL team and its leadership, included a $500,000 fine, the loss of two draft picks, and a half-season suspension for team general manager Mickey Loomis.
Saints spokesman Greg Bensel did not immediately return an e-mail seeking comment. Donald Yee, Payton’s agent, did not return a message left at his office.
The Associated Press reported that Parcells said Payton and he had spoken, but not about him coaching the team.
Parcells, 70, is the only coach to lead four different NFL franchises to the playoffs. He was 172-130-1 in 22 seasons, and coached the New York Giants to Super Bowl victories following the 1986 and 1990 seasons.
Parcells last coached the Dallas Cowboys from 2003-2006. Payton served as quarterbacks coach and assistant head coach for the first three years of Parcells’ tenure in Dallas.
-- Editor: Michael Sillup, Jay Beberman