ESPN's Chris Mortensen is reporting that beleaguered New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton has reached out to his old friend and mentor Bill Parcells about possibly taking over as interim head coach while Payton serves his one-year suspension.
According to sources, no formal offer has been made, and it's unclear as to whether or not Payton has approached Saints owner Tom Benson or general manager Mickey Loomis about the possibility of Parcells taking over, but the subject was touched on during recent discussions between the two former colleagues.
Payton has been a long time friend of Parcells, and served as an assistant under him in Dallas from 2003-2005. The talks between the two opened up this week when Payton turned to Parcells for guidance and advice as to how to handle the upcoming season when the Saints will be hobbled by numerous pentalities handed down by the NFL.
It would seem unlikely that the 71 year old Parcells - now an NFL analyst for ESPN - would come out of retirement even for an interim job. He was recently included in the 10 finalists for this year's NFL Hall of Fame class, and taking such a job could proclude that from moving forward, as well as re-setting the 5-year clock for eligibility.
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In addition, any head coaching vacancies - even interim - would fall under the NFL's "Rooney Rule" which requires teams to interview and consider minority candidates.
ESPN's John Clayton also stated that the talks were just in a preliminary stage, and that it was unclear as to whether or not there would be any further discussion with Parcells about coaching the Saints.
UPDATE: The AJC printed a report from Associated Press reporter Brett Martel, in which Bill Parcells stated he "has not been approached about becoming interim coach of the Saints, but he has spoken to Payton about how to handle the season."
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