New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, center, talks with assistant head coach Joe Vitt, second from left, during Senior Bowl football practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala., Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013. The NFL reinstated Payton on Tuesday following a season long suspension. Vitt served has head coach during the suspension. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
Posted: Wednesday, 23 January 2013 12:23PM
Payton: ''Excited to be back''
Jay Vise Reporting
Sean Payton spoke to the media today for the first time following his early reinstatement as Head Coach of the Saints.
At a news conference at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Payton said he met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday.
“We met for four and a half hours, and we really had a chance to cover a lot of topics,” Payton said. “ Being reinstated, with all that’s going on…it’s helpful to us. Certainly we need to do a lot of things.”
When asked if he was surprised at the early reinstatement, Payton said he’s tried to keep a lid on his emotions through the whole ordeal.
“No…I think going through the time frame and getting past the first two, three weeks, and then trying to get into a routine outside football…you just kind of temper any type of emotion with regards to expectation. The most important thing was that Commissioner Goodell (and the NFL) felt that I was dotting the I’s and crossing the t’s.”
Payton said he was thankful for his staff that he left behind with the parting words, “Do your job.”
“I’m thankful to the staff. I’m thankful to Aaron Kromer…I’m thankful to Joe Vitt.” “So, there’s this mixed emotion. You understand as you watch from afar the early struggles.”
Did he think the unprecedented season-long suspension was fair?
“It was more or less just something you can’t control. Look, to dwell on it, with the time that I had…The first week or so it was difficult. You felt a lot of different emotions. But at that point, you have to move on, regardless of how you felt. Know that there’s eight more months, you’d drive yourself crazy holding those thoughts about whether you thought it was fair or not. I think turning the page was important…it’s no different than what we teach our players when you feel like a call doesn’t go your way. In the bigger scheme of things, it had to be the same approach by me."
When asked about the media reports that he had been courted by the Cowboys while his contract was in limbo, Payton said, “There was no way I was going to another team.”
Payton also said the topic of whether the Saints might get their draft pick back did not come up in his conversation with the Commissioner.
The coach also fielded a question about the grumblings of some Saints fans who say they would give Roger Goodell a less-than-welcoming reception next week.
“Our city has hosted nine Super bowls,” Payton said. “I think (the treatment of Goodell) should be outstanding and gracious. That’s our responsibility, because we’re still the number one destination for this game. We’re not getting in Town Cars and driving 45 minutes to some venue…You’re right down the street from the finest hotels and finest restaurants. The hospitality in our city is open to everyone…especially our Commissioner."
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