NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Sean Payton for the entire last season for his involvement in the bounty scandal. Last season the Saints went 7-9, having their first losing season since 2007.
“It’s painful,” Payton said to the Bostonglobe.com. “There’s so much you have invested in a program, and so each week to sit and watch from a distance every game . . . absolutely [painful], because these are players and coaches you care about like your own family. So, unusual and difficult, yes.”
After a challenging 2012 season, the New Orleans Saints welcome back their head coach. Monday, April 15th was the start of the Saints offseason workout program in Metairie and the players knew they were entering a new world.
Veteran wide receiver Lance Moore hopes to move forward from last year and is excited about welcoming Coach Payton back to the Dome.
“I think first and foremost, it’s been an extremely long last 12, 14, 15 months,” Moore said to Nola.com. “It’s been a tough time for all of us down there. Obviously, Sean not being able to be around guys for a whole year, and then us not having him and not having a successful year that we were looking forward to having last year.”
Just because Coach Payton is back does not mean the Saints will be the 2014 Super Bowl Champions.
“That’s a dangerous mind-set for a team to have,” Payton said, whose team went 37-11 with a Super Bowl title in his three seasons before the suspension. “We could turn around and win five games if you don’t correct some of what’s [faulty].”
Saints Quarter back Drew Brees waited for the time when he would reunite with his head coach and team after last year’s debacle. After his first offseason workout with Payton’s return, Brees told Neworleanssaints.com, “I know that I have been looking forward to this day for three months.”
Moore remembers his first training camp with Payton leading the way.
“The best way to describe it is culture shock, especially for guys who played for Sean the last couple of seasons,” Moore said to Nola.com. “Even they are going to see a totally different animal. I was definitely there in ’06 and it was definitely one of the hardest training camps.”
Payton has made changes on and off the playing field already for the Saints and I am sure there will be plenty more as the count down to the 2013 Who Dat season approaches.