Saints coach, GM to attend meetings

Updated: March 26, 2012, 8:49 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis are planning to attend this week's NFL owners meetings in Palm Beach, Fla., a team source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter on Sunday.

The two men were not expected to attend with their suspensions as a result of the NFL's bounty investigation looming. Payton is suspended for a year, beginning April 1, while Loomis is banned from the team's first eight regular-season games, following the team's last preseason game.

The meetings are scheduled to begin Monday and end Wednesday. Eliminating bounties likely will be one of the major topics discussed.

Payton issued an apology on Friday, saying he took "full responsibility" for the bounty program the Saints used from the 2009-11 seasons.

Aside from the bans dealt to Payton and Loomis, former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who left the Saints after last season to join the St. Louis Rams, was suspended indefinitely and assistant head coach Joe Vitt was suspended for six games. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also fined the Saints $500,000 and took away second-round draft choices in 2012 and 2013.

NFL owners are scheduled to vote on rules changes for overtime, replay and the injury list at the meetings.

Among the changes the competition committee will propose to the owners are:

• Expanding the overtime rule used in the postseason that both sides must have an offensive possession if the receiving team kicks a field goal to start the extra period -- to the regular season.

That rule, instituted in 2010, has yet to become a factor in the playoffs.

• Eliminating referees from instant replay reviews, instead having the booth official make all decisions. The booth official also would be allowed to review all turnovers just as all scoring plays are reviewed.

• A player hurt in preseason or early in the schedule could be designated as able to return from injured reserve after six weeks and play after eight weeks rather than sit out the entire season. The idea is to keep marquee players who get hurt early available to return late in the season.

Until 1990, IR players had to sit out six games.

• The trade deadline could be moved from after the sixth week of games to after the eighth week.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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