PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Sean Payton has regularly sought out advice from his mentor, former coach Bill Parcells. The Saints coach, who has been suspended for a year because of his role in the team's prohibited bounty program, may now ask for more than just advice from Parcells -- he may ask his former boss to fill in for him.
Payton met yesterday afternoon with Parcells to see if the former Giants, Patriots, Jets and Cowboys coach would be interested in coaching the Saints until Payton is reinstated. Payton also said he will know within a few days whether he will appeal his suspension. He also said he is "100 percent certain" he will be back as coach in 2013.
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The decision on Payton's replacement will include input from him, general manager Mickey Loomis (suspended for the first eight games of the 2012 season) and team owner Tom Benson. All of them met with Parcells yesterday.
"We've gone through just an early -- between Mickey, myself, Mr. Benson -- just an early synopsis of what our options would be," Payton said yesterday morning. "We'll continue to do that when we get back to Metairie [La.]. Fortunately, we feel like we've got a number of good candidates. The trick then is what it does to affect their roles that they currently have."
Among the in-house candidates: offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and offensive line coach Aaron Kromer. Parcells is an intriguing choice, though, and the 70-year-old didn't completely dismiss the idea in an interview with Newsday on Monday. Parcells, who said he has turned down two previous opportunities to be a coach after he stepped down in Dallas following the 2006 season, said he didn't want to speculate on what he called a "hypothetical" situation with the Saints. Payton was a member of Parcells' staff in Dallas from 2003-05.
"You're asking me what are his great strengths?" Payton said. "And I would say to you he's a great teacher. Certainly I'm biased, having worked with him . . . And I would also say there's some things probably set up in the framework of our program that would be exactly how he would have set those things up had he been the head coach here in '06. So there's some carry-over that way."
If the Saints decide to consider Parcells on an interim basis, they would have to interview a minority candidate to satisfy the league's Rooney Rule. The rule is designed to promote coaching diversity.
It is also possible Parcells could join the team as a consultant on football matters.
A Parcells return to the sideline would mean he would have to wait at least five more years after next season to be eligible again for Hall of Fame consideration. Parcells was a Hall of Fame finalist in February, but was not selected.
Payton said he is still mulling his options about an appeal. "There is a kind of checklist," he said. "A lot to do here in a short period of time. I think by the end of this month, we'll make a decision on that."
Payton has until Monday to appeal the suspension.
The NFL found that Payton lied to investigators when they tried to establish the existence of a bounty program beginning with the 2009 season, when the Saints won their first Super Bowl. A more thorough investigation earlier this year found that the team had an elaborate bounty system in place from 2009-11, in which defensive players were paid for knocking opponents out of games.