Sources: Pre-Super Bowl talk unlikely

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Saturday that no timetable has been set for a meeting between NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and suspended New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton regarding Payton's reinstatement.

Talk has persisted that Goodell would meet with Payton before the Feb. 3 Super Bowl in New Orleans. However, one league source said a pre-Super Bowl meeting is "very doubtful," while another said flat out it wouldn't happen.

The common thinking in the NFL is the process will play out just the way the NFL dictated it would: The Super Bowl being played Feb. 3, with Payton eligible to apply for reinstatement the day after.

Payton has missed this season while serving a suspension for the Saints' bounty program.

Last month, Goodell told ESPN during the owners' meetings in Dallas that preliminary discussions had been conducted internally regarding Payton's return and that those conversations would become more focused after the holidays.

Payton agreed last month to a five-year contract extension with the Saints expected to pay him more than $8 million annually, which should establish him as the NFL's highest paid coach, a league source told ESPN.

Information from ESPN's Ed Werder was used in this report.