Aaron Kromer will serve as Saints' head coach in Vitt's absence

Offensive line/running game coach Aaron Kromer will serve as the New Orleans Saints' interim coach while assistant head coach and interim coach Joe Vitt serves a six-game suspension for his role in the "bounty" program, the team announced Wednesday.

"I appreciate the confidence that Mr. Benson and Mickey (Loomis) have in me to handle this duty while coach Vitt and coach Payton are not with us," Kromer said, according to the Saints' press release.

Kromer will officially take over duties on Monday, Sept. 3.

"This was a difficult decision because we have several coaches on our staff that would do a great job in this role," said Loomis, the Saints' general manager. "Ultimately, I wanted to have the least amount of change with both the offensive and defensive staffs, and maintain the most continuity with the program that has been in place for the last six years."

Kromer is entering his fifth season with the Saints, with his primary focus on developing offensive linemen and coordinating the running game.

"The job our staff has done during Sean's absence has been remarkable," Vitt said. "We have great talent and depth on our coaching staff, but most importantly we have guys on this coaching staff that clearly understand the foundation of success that Sean has built and I feel great that Aaron and the rest of the staff will continue to build on that foundation."

Vitt is eligible to resume his interim coaching responsibilities following the Saints' Week 7 game on Oct. 21 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Saints head coach Sean Payton is serving a year-long suspension, while former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was indefinitely banned for orchestrating the bounty program. Loomis was suspended for the first eight games of the upcoming season, but no replacement will be named for him, The Times-Picayune reported.

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