Payton back to workSean Payton is back as coach of the New Orleans Saints. Payton’s season-long suspension for his role in the Saints’ bounty program was lifted by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday, nearly two weeks earlier than expected.
NEW YORK — Sean Payton is back as coach of the New Orleans Saints.
Payton’s season-long suspension for his role in the Saints’ bounty program was lifted by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday, nearly two weeks earlier than expected.
The decision allows Payton to attend the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., on Saturday, where some of the top college players available for the NFL draft will be competing.
Payton, along with assistant head coach Joe Vitt, general manager Mickey Loomis, and four players including Jonathan Vilma, was suspended after an investigation found the club had a performance pool offering cash rewards for key plays, including big hits. The player suspensions eventually were overturned.
“I clearly recognize that mistakes were made, which led to league violations,” Payton said in a statement. “Furthermore, I have assured the commissioner a more diligent protocol will be followed.”
NFL hopes to decide Pro Bowl future by April
HONOLULU — The NFL is hoping to decide the fate of the Pro Bowl by the time it releases next season’s schedule in April. And the fate of the league’s all-star game will largely depend on how much effort this year’s participants put into the game.
NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson told reporters of the timing at a news conference Tuesday to kick off this year’s Pro Bowl week in Honolulu. He said the league expects its players to play a game that fans will be proud of.
“Our hope is that the players will give the same effort and energy that allowed them to become roster members of this Pro Bowl,” Anderson said.
Commissioner Roger Goodell nearly canceled the game after uninspiring play last year, but it will be held Sunday at Aloha Stadium after discussions between the league and the player’s union.
First-down line could be coming to NFL stadiums
BALTIMORE — Fans watching NFL games on television have grown accustomed to the imaginary yellow line that runs across the field in accord with the first-down marker.
That first-down line could one day become part of the in-game experience at all 32 NFL stadiums.
Alan Amron, with financial backing from former NFL player and broadcaster Pat Summerall, has developed the First Down Laser System. Amron said the system projects a first-down line across the field that can be seen in the stadium and on TV.
The league is intrigued, but not completely sold on the idea — not yet anyway.
“The NFL is our prime customer at this point,” Amron said, “and if we can make something that they like, maybe the NCAA and Canadian Football League will follow suit.”
NFL looking into Brady’s slide vs Ravens
NEW YORK — The NFL is looking into Tom Brady’s leg-up slide that hit Ravens safety Ed Reed in the AFC championship game.
League spokesman Greg Aiello said Tuesday “any play of that nature is routinely reviewed.”
Brady could be subject to a fine if the league believes he violated any player safety rules.
During the final minute of the first half, Brady slid at the end of an impromptu run. The quarterback’s upraised leg hit the onrushing Reed, who temporarily limped away. Reed was not injured.
Reed says Brady attempted to apologize this week for the slide.
“He actually reached out to me, texted me,” Reed told WJZ-FM in Baltimore. “I tried to text him back, but the message exploded after 12 seconds, so I had to call him. ... He’s just apologized and what not. But I told him, ‘You know, it’s good, man.’”