Earlier today, a reader posed an intriguing question that sparked an extended Twitter debate. Since many of you never have and never will use Twitter, we decided to import the debate to the pages of PFT.
The reader asked whether suspended Saints coach Sean Payton could spend 2012 coaching at Arkansas. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello tells PFT that Payton’s suspension would not prevent him from taking the job.
Of course, Payton’s contract might, even if he’s prevented from working during the coming season. But if Saints owner Tom Benson has no problem with Payton making productive use of his time away from the NFL, then any language in the deal that could scuttle a one-year arrangement for Payton in Fayetteville would be irrelevant, since Benson wouldn’t be inclined to enforce the deal.
Some Arkansas fans have pointed out that a Band-Aid approach to the sudden termination of Bobby Petrino wouldn’t work because the program needs a long-term solution. But how can the program find the right long-term coach in the middle of April, when the candidates are few and far betwen?
It would make much more sense to hire Payton, elevate the program’s status and stature for 2012, and then parlay that extra attention/notoriety into making a play for a top-shelf coach come 2013.
Firing Petrino so late in the offseason makes the 2012 largely a lost cause. Why not salvage it with a skilled and experienced head coach who has plenty of time on his hands?
For Payton, that could be the best way to fill the void in his life — and the best way to avoid the temptation of constantly communicating in 2012 with men like Drew Brees and Joe Vitt, in defiance of the terms of Payton’s suspension.