The New Orleans Saints are still far from deciding how to replace coach Sean Payton during his one-year suspension, league sources told the New Orleans Times-Picayune on Wednesday. People familiar with the situation also told the newspaper that Bill Parcells has yet to be offered a position with the team.
Parcells, who has two Super Bowl victories under his belt, told USA Today on Wednesday that he feels "an obligation, a responsibility to help" Payton, his friend and former colleague. But he has also indicated that he and the team are just having preliminary discussions at this point.
Though Parcells went golfing with Payton and Saints general manager Mickey Loomis on Tuesday, Parcells characterized the outing as merely an attempt to get to know Loomis better.
A source who was familiar with the trip seemed to corroborate Parcells’ account, telling the Times-Picayune that Tuesday "was really more about golf than coaching, nothing final was even mentioned."
Payton was suspended for all of next season by the NFL because of the "bounty" program that the team implemented under the direction of former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
It has been speculated that Parcells could fill in for Payton as an interim coach. Parcells’ friend, NFL.com’s Gil Brandt, said that eligibility for induction into the Hall of Fame — which would be delayed by an additional five years if Parcells were to return for the 2012 season — would have an impact on his decision. Parcells, however, told Newsday on Wednesday that worries about the hall are "not even a factor right now."