New Orleans Saints  

 

Payton can't consult Saints, Vitt, Loomis before Super Bowl

In his judgment upholding suspensions for New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis and assistant head coach Joe Vitt, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the parties had to meet certain requirements for their potential reinstatements.

One of the expectations is that they avoid all football and operational communication, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, citing NFL rules. Once Payton’s suspension kicks in April 16, he can’t speak to Loomis or Vitt –- or have any communication with the team –- regarding football or operational matters until after the Super Bowl. There is latitude for dialogue, for example, should a personal matter arise and counsel is warranted.

Though Payton’s suspension technically ends after the Super Bowl, he has to re-apply for reinstatement and have Goodell review his status to determine whether to allow him back to coach in the NFL.

Loomis and Vitt can operate as normal until the start of the regular season but once their suspensions begin, Vitt can’t speak with anyone on the team regarding football matters for six games, Loomis for eight.

What could be an intriguing wrinkle is how the schedule lays out for the Saints. If the NFL schedules a bye week in the first six games, Vitt’s and Loomis’s suspensions could be prolonged for a week. The same applies to Loomis if a bye is scheduled in the first eight games.

Last season the Saints’ bye did not come until Week 11.

Follow Steve Wyche on Twitter @wyche89

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