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Payton: Johnny Manziel, Saints aren't close to deal

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The New Orleans Saints aren't about to sign Johnny Manziel, but that didn't stop coach Sean Payton from dishing about his Super Bowl week breakfast with the unemployed quarterback.

"It was good," Payton said Wednesday during the Annual League Meeting in Phoenix. "We didn't visit very long, but we did have a chance to visit."

Payton explained that his curiosity partly stemmed from missing out on the chance to evaluate Manziel in 2012, when the coach was serving his season-long "Bountygate" ban.

"Look, in 2012, that whole draft class is a blur to me because I was suspended for a year," Payton said. "(This) gave me an opportunity to meet him. ... We met for breakfast. First time just having a chance to talk to him and really, I'll leave it at that. That really was just what it was."

Payton wasn't kidding. Hours after he spoke with reporters, words leaked that New Orleans was planning to reunite with quarterback Chase Daniel to play behind 38-year-old Drew Brees.

As for Manziel's playing future, Payton made it clear that no Saints contract is pending, saying: "I'm sure he's got a handful of things he's got to do step-wise to put himself back into a position to sign with a club and play football again."

Manziel hasn't played since 2015, when he made six starts for the Browns, the team that made the former Texas A&M star a first-round pick the year before. Even beyond his endless off-the-field issues, Manziel's game tape reveals a quarterback with plenty of flaws to go along with his unusual talents.

"He's got a skill set that's unique," Payton said. "He's got good feet. He can create. I've seen him play one game live. I think he's got decent arm strength. I think he's got a lot of work to do with some of the mechanics, protection-wise in our league. But look, he's got arm talent. I don't think any of those are the question right now."

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