Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Updated: May 17, 1:14 PM ET
Report: Sean Payton's seat off-limits
ESPN.com news services
Joe Vitt will fill Sean Payton's role during the New Orleans Saints head coach's season-long suspension for the team's bounty program. But no one will be sitting in Payton's seat while he's away from the team.
The Saints will leave Payton's seat on the team's bus and plane empty this season and will do the same in team meetings, the Times-Picayune of New Orleans reported this week.
Vitt said Monday after the team's rookie minicamp that Payton's absence is already being felt.
"Since I've been here, as soon as we got off the practice field, Sean and I would go right to a meeting and talk about what we wanted to do differently in the afternoon," Vitt said. "I didn't have that this year. We also would do a lot of communicating on the practice field. What do you think of this? What do you think of that? That was a huge void right from the get-go and something we're going to have to get used to."
Payton is not allowed to talk with the team about football matters during his suspension and if he wants to talk to a member of the team about a non-football issue, he must do so with the team's legal counsel present, the Times-Picayune reported.
Also, he has a new office in the Benson Tower in New Orleans near the SuperDome but had to get the NFL's approval before renting it.
Vitt will serve a six-game suspension for his role in the team's pay-for-pain system once the regular season begins.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.