Suspended Saints coach Sean Payton will be allowed in Canton this weekend, but he won’t be allowed near his team.
Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that Payton was given permission to attend Saturday’s enshrinement ceremony to see former Saints tackle Willie Roaf inducted. A league spokesman confirmed to PFT that Payton would also be allowed to attend a reception for Roaf, but could not have any contact with his team while in Ohio.
Roaf played for the Saints until 2001, and Payton took over there in 2006.
Payton won’t be allowed into the Hall of Fame Game between the Saints and Cardinals the following day, per the terms of his suspension.
In case he runs into anyone in the hallway of his hotel, Payton will have to call Ray Anderson, the NFL executive vice president of football operations, within 24 hours of any contact of anyone from an NFL team, according to Holder’s report.
Payton’s lurking while his team is nearby isn’t quite as blatant as his Dr. T.J. Eckleburg-esque portrait hanging over the Saints practice facility, but it’s another subtle reminder he’s not far away, and always watching.