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Saints Coach Payton, GM Loomis Appeal Suspensions; Ellard Interview Would Satisfy NFL Rooney Rule


(Sports Network) - New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton will reportedly appeal the year-long suspension he incurred as the result of his role in the club's bounty program.

According to the NFL Network, Payton will ask commissioner Roger Goodell for specific parameters, asking what he can and cannot do during his penalty.

Payton was suspended for the entire 2012 season, a penalty that is set to go into effect on April 1. He has until April 2 to file an official appeal.

Goodell had indicated that Payton could continue working during an appeal, which could give the Saints more time to organize their plans for the coach's absence. However, the commissioner also said he would expedite the appeal and reports have speculated that a final decision would be made within a week or two.

Payton spoke publicly on the subject Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings in Florida and expressed regret for the situation.

There has been widespread discussion that two-time Super Bowl winning coach Bill Parcells could take over as Saints coach for the 2012 season.

sportsNOLA extra: Not surprisingly, Saints GM Mickey Loomis and the organizations have appealed their penalties.

The Saints look to have the two second round draft pick punishment lessened.

Also, New Orleans assistant Joe Vitt is also appealing his six-game ban. If any leniency were to come for Vitt, he may become a favorite to fill in for Payton, who appointed Vitt as his assistant head coach when he first took the job in New Orleans in 2006.

Vitt served as interim head coach of the St. Louis Rams in the final 11 games of 2005 and in the same capacity for a portion of the 2011 season while Payton was unavailable to work the sidelines due to a broken leg.

Meanwhile, a search for an interim replacement for Payton faces the Rooney Rule requiring any head coaching move to include an interview with a minority candidate. The Saints have an in-house option to meet that rule, according to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello. If New Orleans interviews every coach on the current staff, new Saints wide receivers coach Henry Ellard allows the team to meet the requirement.


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