CANTON, OH. – Suspended Saints head coach Sean Payton made a surprise, if brief visit to see his team Saturday amid the Hall of Fame activities.
Payton, who was allowed to attend the Hall of Fame ceremony, but who was not to attend Sunday’s game, surprised his players with a short appearance.
Interim Head Coach Joe Vitt said he was surprised and wished he had gotten a heads up on the deal, but was glad to see his exiled boss.
“We heard he was going to be here, but we didn’t know the contact we would be able to have with him,” said Vitt. “Mr. Benson told him to go back and say hello to his team. It’s the first time I’ve seen him since April. It was good to see him. It was emotional. He got to say hello to his team.”
“He was just walking through and said hello to everyone, it was good to see him,” said Pete Carmichael, the team’s offensive coordinator and the person expected to have the head coaching role during Vitt’s early season suspension.
Receiver Devery Henderson said Payton looked good and said the team was dedicated to go out and win for him.
Payton is in the midst of an unprecedented season-long suspension for a head coach for what the league said was his role in a pay-for-performance scandal. He had not had any contact with his team since the suspension was announced in April.