Facing a season-long suspension for his role in the Saints' bounties program, Sean Payton is relying on support from his long-time mentor.
Payton says he plans to meet with Bill Parcells, his former boss, on Tuesday, a conversation that will include who will coach New Orleans this coming season.
Speaking Tuesday morning at the NFL meetings, Payton said he talks regularly with Parcells, and has sought his counsel often throughout this process. He added that he, general manager Mickey Loomis, who is facing an eight-game suspension, and team owner Tom Benson are weighing a number of scenarios, and Payton said a decision whether he will appeal the suspension is likely in the next "two to three" days.
"We've gone through just an early, between Mickey, myself, Mr. Benson, just an early synopsis of what our options would be," Payton said. "We'll continue to do that when we get back to Metairie. Even this morning some, we're going to have some breakfast and discuss that matter. Fortunately, we feel like we've got a number of good candidates. The trick then is what it does to affect their roles that they currently have."
Payton says he's "100 percent" confident he will coach the Saints in 2013.
Parcells led the New York Giants to two Super Bowl victories, is a mentor to Payton, and hired Payton as an offensive assistant in Dallas in 2003.
"You're asking me what are his great strengths?" Payton said. "And I would say to you he's a great teacher. Certainly I'm biased, having worked with him. But he's a Hall of Fame head coach. And I would also say there's some things probably set up in the framework of our program that would be exactly how he would have set those things up had he been the head coach here in `06. So there's some carry-over that way."
Payton spoke for about 18 minutes on Tuesday, remaining composed throughout. He talked about the disappointment that for the first time since his first season playing football as a kid 39 years ago he may miss a season.
"You go through a range of emotions that kind of hit you," Payton said. "You're disappointed. You're disappointed in yourself that it got to this point. I think we're trained as coaches to begin preparation right away. I find myself reflecting on it, and you go through a lot of emotions."
The NFL's investigation found that Payton initially lied to league investigators about the program, at first denying its existence, and also instructed his defensive assistants to lie. Payton twice has apologized for his role in the bounty system that offered payouts for big hits on opponents, saying he takes "full responsibility" for the program that operated for three years under his watch.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday that if Payton appeals the suspension, he could remain as coach during the process.
"I said in a letter they have to appeal by April 2, I believe," Goodell said. "If he decides to appeal, I probably will allow him to continue and I would expedite the hearing and I would expedite my decision."