Sunday included a few seemingly conflicting stories about New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton.
Here are the facts: His reported contract extension last year never happened. The league didn't allow it because of a contract provision allowing Payton to leave if general manager Mickey Loomis left town. Commissioner Roger Goodell said Sunday evening in Atlanta the ball is in the Saints and Payton's court. Nothing is settled. It's not even certain if Payton's contract will run through 2013.
Payton says he "plans" to coach in New Orleans next year, but we can't say that for sure right now. The biggest eyebrow raiser here is that the news came out at all. That doesn't happen by accident. The Saints were clearly not happy the story leaked. SI.com's Peter King sums it up well:
"The fact that the story got out tells me a few things. It's no lock that Payton will stay a Saint; if it were, he'd have agreed to a rewritten deal by now," he writes.