Saints coach Sean Payton is back to work, and working hard to make sure all his focus and the focus of his team is forward.
During an interview with ESPN Radio Chicago (via SportsRadioInterviews.com), Payton said it’s easy to approach his return to the Saints as a fresh start.
“I’m coming in with the mindset that this is my first year here and I just got hired,” he said.
Payton admitted the difficulty of watching games from afar during his suspension, and it was difficult to watch at times as the Saints slumped to 7-9, with the league’s worst defense.
“It would be like taking you away from your restaurant, if you had one, and you had a security camera that you looked at for eight months, and there were things that you saw being done that maybe you wouldn’t do the same way,” Payton said. “And so absolutely that happens. And yet you know that the guys there, back in the building, players and coaches, they’re all trying to keep the program kind of in the same direction.”
Payton said the most difficult part was the lack of contact with long-time co-workers and friends, admitting it took a toll on him emotionally.
“You’re going to drive yourself crazy if you continue to live each day that way,” he said of the bitterness about his suspension. And so probably for the first two to three weeks you go through those mood swings where you’re angry, you’re disappointed, all those things. And then at some point you gotta kind of turn the page, and it probably took at least two to three weeks to do that.”
That left nine months and change to plot, and apparently fume at his defense, as he’s still in the act of replacing fired coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.