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NFL won’t object to Parcells

April 3, 2012

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— NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says he won’t stand in the way if the New Orleans Saints ask Bill Parcells to take over as interim coach for suspended Sean Payton.

“That’s their decision. They need to make those decisions and we’ll move forward,” Goodell said Monday at the opening of an NFL pop-up store featuring new team apparel. “Bill’s a great coach, and I’m sure (he) will add a lot of personality and intrigue. And he’s as competitive as they get so I’m sure he’ll do a good job.”

Before the Saints pick someone to run the team this year, though, Goodell still has to rule on Payton’s appeal of his season-long suspension, along with the appeals of shorter suspensions to assistant coach Joe Vitt and general manager Mickey Loomis and penalties handed down to the team.

Goodell expects to hear the appeals this week, and hopes to make a ruling shortly thereafter.

“Part of it depends exactly when the appeal is going to be, and second of all what information comes up in the appeal,” said Goodell, who has met with Payton twice before the appeal was filed.

Meanwhile, league officials were meeting with NFL Players’ Association representatives Monday about penalties involving players who took part in the bounty program.

The union has asked the NFL to provide it with all the information from the league’s investigation that revealed 22 to 27 defensive players were part of the Saints’ pay-for-pain bounty pool. The pool awarded thousands of dollars in cash bonuses from 2009-11 for vicious hits that knocked targeted opponents out of games.

One example, according to the league: Linebacker Jonathan Vilma offered $10,000 to any New Orleans player who sidelined Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre during the 2010 NFC championship game.

Goodell said the league has given the NFLPA two confidential reports on the investigation.

“I think we all need to move forward,” he said. “We’ve been open about what we’ve been able to find. We released it publicly.”

The commissioner said he’s hopeful the NFLPA will have a recommendation soon after meeting with league officials.

The results of the appeal could well affect whether Parcells comes out of retirement to take over as interim coach while his former offensive assistant and protege is suspended.

Parcells has said he would consider coaching the Saints if asked. Payton and Loomis played golf with the former NFL coach last week to talk to him about the team’s predicament.

Parcells, who turns 71 in August, led the New York Giants to two Super Bowl titles, and also coached the New England Patriots, New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys.

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