Embattled New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton answered questions for about 18 minutes Tuesday morning in what might be his last media session for a very long time. The Super Bowl champion didn't duck a single inquiry. NFL.com's Steve Wyche reports that Payton confirmed that he will talk with Bill Parcells about possibly joining the team as an interim head coach.
Perhaps the most telling answer came after a question about the Saints' legacy. Payton said it was hard to fathom that the bounty scandal would "taint" what the Saints have accomplished, including their Super Bowl triumph. There is a city of people in New Orleans that agree with Payton. The rest of this football nation remains conflicted at best.
Payton took responsibility for the punishments and didn't refute the allegations. But he also mentioned that he believed no players were seriously hurt by the team's bounty program.
"In the two trips to New York, I made sure to do everything in my power to answer the questions honestly," Payton said.
It sure seems like NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reached a different conclusion on that front. Payton has a lot to do before his suspension starts, and that will remain his focus in the coming days. He could appeal the suspension to buy some time. Payton was calm and poised with reporters during what has to be a difficult time. He was 100 percent confident he'll be back as the team's coach in 2013.
In the meantime, Payton won't be allowed to do what he loves to do most in the world. He admitted that he'll consider his options when it comes to television offers, but that's not where he wants to be.
"You're disappointed. You're disappointed in yourself that it got to this point," Payton said.