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Saints fire assistant head coach/LB coach Joe Vitt

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  • By Around The NFL staff NFL.com
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Change is taking place in New Orleans.

The Saints announced Friday they have parted ways with assistant head coach/linebacker coach Joe Vitt, defensive line coach Bill Johnson, special teams coordinator Greg McMahon, assistant special teams coach Stan Kwan and defensive assistant/linebackers coach James Willis.

"I would like to thank all of these coaches for the work they have done for this club," head coach Sean Payton said in a statement. "Specifically, Bill, Greg and Joe played a key role on teams that helped create a very special time in franchise history. They played an instrumental role in the development of countless players both on and off the field. I appreciate the contributions that these men have made to this team and wish them continued success."

Alex Marvez of SportingNews.com first reported the development.

The moves indicate that head coach Payton will remain with the Saints in 2017, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday.

"Of course there's still open speculation with Sean Payton eyeing with some potential job opportunities at least with the Rams and some other places," Rapoport said on Up to The Minute Live on Thursday. "But the fact that he seems to be making some staff changes, making decisions for the Saints in 2017 does indicate more strongly than his words ever could is that he's staying in New Orleans for at least one more year."

Vitt was with the Saints for 11 seasons. Vitt came to the Saints after serving as interim head coach for the final 11 games in St. Louis in 2005.

"We appreciate all of the hard work and dedication that each of these coaches have given to the New Orleans Saints," said Saints general manager Mickey Loomis. "With Greg and Joe joining Sean's staff at the start in 2006 and Bill arriving in 2009, the three of them played an integral role in establishing a winning culture and identity within our team. We wish them well in their future endeavors."

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