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New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis got back to work Tuesday with plenty on his plate after finishing his eight-game suspension from the NFL. Starting with handling the contract of his coach, Sean Payton.

There are a number of ways Payton's future could go. Loomis expects Payton to stay where he is.

"I absolutely expect Sean to be our coach next year and going forward," Loomis told reporters. "These contract issues will be resolved."

It won't be simple. and NFL Network's Albert Breer wrote that Payton has "serious reservations" about the succession plan in New Orleans if Saints owner Tom Benson steps down. reported that Payton wanted to make sure Loomis stayed in the organization with him as a "buffer" between himself and owner/executive vice president Rita Benson LeBlanc, Benson's granddaughter and presumed successor.

Mike Triplett of The Times-Picayune reports the Saints are waiting for written permission from the NFL in order to negotiate Payton's contract again, even though multiple reports indicate the team has permission to negotiate a contract during the coach's suspension.

The entire situation potentially is an ugly one for Payton and the Saints. That's why we're surprised it came to light during the season. Loomis might be confident that Payton will be back in New Orleans, but the story wouldn't have come out if it was a certainty. The contract would have been settled by now.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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