When Sean Payton woke up Monday morning, the sun rose on a brand new world, one in which he was no longer allowed to talk to anyone he was come to know in his field of expertise the past 20-plus years.
Payton’s year-long suspension from the Saints and NFL began Monday, punishment for his involvement in what the NFL has called a pay-for-performance program that the league says included bounties to knock players out of games for money.
Under the guidelines of the punishment NFL commissioner Roger Goodell handed down, Payton won’t be able to have any contact with any member of the NFL until the day after the Super Bowl in 2013, when he likely will be re-instated.
The full text of the NFL’s rule regarding suspended coaches or executives reads as such:
“While suspended, coaches or club executives are prohibited from direct or in-direct communication of any sort with employees of the 32 NFL Clubs, including through third parties; and such prohibited communications shall include, but are not limited to, phone or electronic contact with employees of any of the 32 NFL Clubs. Except for reasonable contact with the affected club’s principal owner and/or human resources manager for personal reasons, this prohibition applies to all club personnel (including players, coaches, physicians, trainers, videographers, scouts, executive assistants, business operations personnel, etc.).
Suspended coaches or club executives are banned from all NFL facilities, stadiums or offices at any time during the suspension, in any capacity, except as authorized by the Commissioner.
Suspended coaches or club executives must report any personal and/or emergency contact with any employee of the 32 NFL clubs within 24 hours to NFL security."
That means Payton won’t be allowed to talk with general manager Mickey Loomis or interim head coach Joe Vitt, even while they’re suspended for the first eight games and six games, respectively.
The Saints were docked second-round picks this season and in 2013 and also fined $500,000 for the bounty program. Additionally, former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was suspended indefinitely for his role in running and at times funding it.