Report: No early return for Payton

All those New Orleans fans hoping suspended coach Sean Payton will be reinstated soon might as well forget about that possibility.

In fact, Payton might not be back on duty quite as soon as originally anticipated. The early word was that he could return to work immediately after the Super Bowl.

But ESPN’s Adam Schefter has reported that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell isn’t expected to meet with Payton before the Super Bowl. Schefter’s report also said that Payton won’t be allowed to apply for reinstatement until the day after the Super Bowl.

Even if Goodell moves quickly on the reinstatement process, it’s not likely Payton will be allowed back to work until at least a few days after the Super Bowl.

That could put Payton at a disadvantage if he’s going to make any changes to his coaching staff. Many moves already are taking part around the league, and the final wave usually comes at the Senior Bowl in late January.

But Payton won’t be allowed to attend the Senior Bowl, and that could put him in a difficult spot to make any staff changes. The Saints might be better off to let interim head coach Joe Vitt and general manager Mickey Loomis make any changes before Payton’s eligible to return.