On Wednesday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spoke with suspended New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton about his reinstatement. Initially scheduled to go through the Super Bowl (or Feb. 3, 2013), it may now end before then. Payton has expressed his desire to return earlier, as noted by sources in an ESPN story.
The timing on a possible change comes after former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue issued a final determination for the Saints’ bounty scandal on Tuesday. The question had been posed to Goodell on Wednesday about the potential for Payton’s reinstatement; he responded, “I don’t want to say he could be because, again, we are in the early stages. We are starting to talk about it.”
There are a few things to consider for a possible change. This year’s Super Bowl is in New Orleans and fans could protest, wreak havoc if they don’t like how things turn out for Payton. There could also be some nastiness for how Goodell had ruled on the Saints players while Tagliabue believed the commissioner was too harsh.
Keep in mind, Payton may also not be back with the team next year as his contract is up. Maybe it won’t be extended or he may choose to just go elsewhere.
Goodell won’t want a poor reception in February but either way, one side will lose on his decision.
In other news, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant has a fractured left index finger that needs surgery. The player thinks the show must go on and he plans to continue playing on it, delaying the requisite surgery.
Team doctors will now try to fashion some sort of contraption to protect the finger and enable Bryant to continue playing.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said of his player via ESPN, “One of the things that we know about Dez is that he’s a tough guy and he loves playing football. He’s going to give himself and our team every chance possible to play in (Sunday’s game) and continue to play this season.We just need to get more medical information about how to handle the situation right now, the best way to handle it for now and for the future.”
For the Cowboys, having Bryant in the game is a good thing. In his last four games, he has 30 receptions for 438 yards with six touchdowns and has scored in each of the team’s last five games.
On Sunday, the Cowboys will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in the battle of the 7-6 teams.