MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton addressed the media at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Wednesday, January 23, fresh off his reinstatement to the National Football League.
Payton spoke to the press around 11:30 a.m. during a practice session for the North's Senior Bowl team.
As Payton descended the stadium stands he knew the question on many minds - if the organization will now admit to a Bounty scandal where Saints were paid to knock other players out of games.
The allegation lead to Payton's ban from the NFL for the whole 2012 season.
But calm and cool, Payton wouldn't get into specifics.
"We're at a point where I think it's time for closure. It's time for us as a team, as a league, to take this next step forward," Payton said.
Payton met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell Monday for over four hours, and the next day it was announced that he'd make his return.
"Being reinstated, now, with all that's going on - as soon as the season ends there's a lot of work that begins towards the next year, so that's helpful to us," Payton said. "Certainly, we need to do a lot of things, but I'm grateful for that opportunity and excited to be back."
Even though Payton watched his team get off to a 0-4 start and an eventual 7-9 season, he said what he missed the most was his personal interactions with Saints staff and players like Drew Brees.
To many, a year suspension was too harsh. Payton said he taught himself to take it in stride.
"It's no different than what we teach our players when you feel maybe a call didn't go our way," Payton said. "In other words, you're on to the next play. And this, in a much bigger scheme of things, had to be the same approach I think by me."
Due to the recent playoff success of the New Orleans Saints, Payton hasn't been able to be at the Senior Bowl himself. But due to the early reinstatement, he's able to scout players and get ready for next season.
"I know we have to do a lot of things better, or else we'll be at the Senior Bowl early again next year," Payton said.
To make sure that doesn't happen, Payton figures he needs to address his defense, which ranked amongst the worst in the league in many major categories.
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