Palm Beach, FL – Sean Payton spoke to reporters Tuesday morning at the NFL owners meetings in Florida and addressed a number of topics, including the possibility of an appeal of his year-long suspension for his role in the Saints' bounty program and the potential of Bill Parcells becoming New Orleans' interim coach.
Payton was suspended for the entire 2012 season, a penalty that is set to go into effect on April 1. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said Payton could continue working during an appeal, which could give the Saints more time to organize their plans for the coach's absence.
"We're just considering all options," Payton said during an 18-minute question-and-answer session. "We're doing our homework on each option. There's a lot of small steps before we make that decision. A lot of it is predicated on whether there is an appeal or not.
"There's a lot to do in a short period of time. There's a lot to do with the draft coming up. I'm trying to get through all of that very quickly and by the end of this month we'll make a decision on that."
Speculation has grown that Parcells, Payton's former boss with the Dallas Cowboys, could take over as Saints head coach for the 2012 season and ESPN reported later Tuesday that Payton, along with New Orleans general manager Mickey Loomis, met with Parcells.
Payton said he considers Parcells a mentor and regularly speaks with the two- time Super Bowl winner.
"My conversations with Bill to date have been about the uniqueness with this situation," said Payton, who thinks Parcells would easily fit in with the Saints.
"Certainly I'm biased, having worked with him," Payton said. "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 back in '06. So there's some carry-over that way."
There are other candidates for the interim spot, including offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael and new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who was fired in January after three years as head coach of the St. Louis Rams.
"Fortunately, we feel like we've got a number of good candidates," Payton added. "The trick then is what it does to affect their roles that they currently have."
Parcells, who worked as a television analyst last season after giving up his role as head of football operations for the Miami Dolphins, last roamed an NFL sideline in 2006 with the Dallas Cowboys. He spent four seasons in Dallas after coaching three years with the New York Jets and four with New England. His greatest success came during eight seasons with the New York Giants, leading the franchise to Super Bowl titles after the 1986 and 1990 seasons.
"I've really called him more as just a mentor, someone to shoot some ideas off of," Payton said about his recent talks with Parcells prior to Tuesday. "I speak to him pretty regularly in regards to advice. He's been very supportive."
Payton said he would be disappointed in not being around football for a year.
"You go through a range of emotions that kind of hit you," Payton said. "You're disappointed. You're disappointed in yourself that it got to this point."
Although he hasn't been given specifics of what he can or cannot do during the suspension, Payton said he was "100 percent certain" that he will be back in 2013.