Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Payton Makes Return to Sideline

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Payton Makes Return to Sideline

Article excerpt

Finally, New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton gets to do what he loves the most.

Nearly 19 months after he coached his previous game, Payton will be back on the sideline when New Orleans plays the Kansas City Chiefs in an exhibition opener tonight at Louisiana Superdome.

It won't come close to matching the intensity of his most recent game, a pulsating, excruciating 36-32 loss at San Francisco in the divisional round of the playoffs for the 2011 season. But the Superdome should be rocking for his return from an unprecedented yearlong suspension for his role in the bounty scandal.

"Just getting back to being out on the field in practice and having a chance to coach in a regular game, that part of it is exciting," Payton said. "The fans have been great. They get excited about our team, especially at the start of the season after everything that went on a year ago. I know our players are excited to play."

Much has changed since Payton walked off the field Jan. 14, 2012, at Candlestick Park, ruing a heartbreaking end to the season. In a game with four lead changes in the final 4:02, the 49ers won on a 14- yard touchdown reception with nine seconds left.

New Orleans, which was 9-0 at home, would have played host to the New York Giants in the NFC championship the following week.

Without Payton, the Saints slipped to 7-9 in 2012, losing their first four games en route to their first sub-.500 season since 2007. After setting an NFL record for most yards gained in 2011, New Orleans shattered the mark for most yards allowed in 2012.

Then-defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, hired by Payton before his suspension, was fired and replaced by Rob Ryan. The Saints have changed to a 3-4 alignment from a 4-3.

Drew Brees, who threw for an NFL-record 5,476 yards in 2011, tied the NFL high with 19 interceptions in 2012.

Chiefs quarterback Chase Daniel, slated to play the second quarter after spending the past three years with the Saints as Brees' backup, had an inside view of the New Orleans locker room without Payton. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.