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Saints coach Payton deflects lawsuit questions

METAIRIE, La. (AP) -- Sean Payton calmly took questions Saturday about a lawsuit against the New Orleans Saints, saying he "appreciated" the interest in a case that alleges an attempt to cover up prescription drug thefts at club headquarters.

The Super Bowl champion coach stopped short of responding directly to the allegations, saying now was not the right time to tell his side because civil litigation is pending.

"Certainly, we understand the questions surrounding it, but I'm really not at liberty to" answer them, Payton said. "As time goes forward, well know more and more. ... There just needs to be the correct steps. When you have a civil suit, those probably become more complicated. ... That's the thing that's challenging."

Payton and the Saints are trying to go about the business of football while the lawsuit filed by former security director Geoffrey Santini looms over an offseason that until recently was all about celebrating the franchise's first Super Bowl triumph and the quest to repeat.