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Sean Payton allowed to attend Hall of Fame ceremony

Though he's been suspended for the 2012 season, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton will be attending the Pro Football Hall of Fame's enshrinement ceremony on Saturday night, Larry Holder of The Times-Picayune reports.

Two players being inducted on Saturday night have connections to the Saints organization. Offensive tackle Willie Roaf was a perennial Pro Bowler with the Saints from 1993 to 2001. Defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy spent his playing career with the Seattle Seahawks, but worked as an adviser to the Saints after his retirement.


Take a close look at the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2012: Jack Butler, Dermontti Dawson, Chris Doleman, Cortez Kennedy, Curtis Martin and Willie Roaf. Highlights, photos of NFL icons ...

Payton requested and received permission from the NFL to attend the ceremony, league spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed to NFL Network and NFL.com.

However, Payton will not be allowed to have any contact with the Saints or attend Sunday night's Hall of Fame Game between the Saints and Arizona Cardinals.

Given how stiff Payton's suspension already is, we shouldn't expect him to pull a Bobby Valentine by trying to sneak into the preseason game in disguise.

The Saints' starters are not expected to play much on Sunday night, but perhaps knowing that Payton was in town could inspire them to put some points on the board.

Payton has loomed large over the team's training camp, as an enormous photo of an intense-looking Payton adorns a wall overlooking the team's indoor facility.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about the Saints rallying around Payton, and perhaps showing a lack of contrition, during a Friday morning appearance on "NFL AM".

"Well, the focus they have is trying to do the best they can on the field this year. And I understand that and they should," said Goodell. "They owe that to their franchise, their organization and to their fans. So, I respect totally that the Saints are focused now on moving forward, trying to put the best team on the field."

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