New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton has appealed his season-long suspension by the NFL for his role in the team’s bounty scandal, a person familiar with the case said Friday.
Payton had until Monday to appeal the suspension, which was imposed last week by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
If he hadn’t appealed, Payton’s suspension would have taken effect Sunday.
Goodell said this week at the annual league meeting in Palm Beach, Fla., that he would allow Payton to continue working during the appeal process. It is not clear when the appeal will be resolved but several people familiar with the case said they expect the process to move quickly. The appeal is to be heard by Goodell.
Several people within the league said they do not expect Payton’s suspension to be shortened. But the appeal at least gives Payton some time to continue participating in the team’s planning for the upcoming season. The Saints have not named an interim coach. Payton’s former boss with the Dallas Cowboys, Bill Parcells, appears to be a leading candidate.
Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis and assistant head coach Joe Vitt also appealed their suspensions, the person with knowledge of the case said. Loomis was suspended for a half-season and Vitt was suspended for six games.
Attorney David Cornwell, who is representing Vitt and also is the executive director of the NFL Coaches Association, confirmed Vitt’s appeal.
In a written statement, Cornwell said: “Joe Vitt and I discussed our concern that his appeal be consistent with the association's view that coaches also coach sportsmanship and fair play. Based on these discussions, I am confident that Joe’s appeal and his long history in the NFL are consistent with our belief that there is no place at any level of football for bounties that target players.”
A Saints spokesman confirmed Loomis’s appeal and said the team separately is appealing its penalties. The Saints were fined $500,000 and were stripped of a pair of second-round draft picks.