Sean Payton can attend game
Drew Brees personally asked NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in an email Wednesday for suspended Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis and Joe Vitt to be permitted to attend Sunday night's game in the Superdome where the New Orleans Saints' record-setting quarterback can achieve a historic milestone.
Brees told ESPN.com he learned through media reports that his request was granted.
"I am excited for our team and for them," Brees said in a text message, referring to Payton, Loomis and Vitt, all of whom came to the Saints in 2006, when the free-agent passer joined the franchise. "It adds another element to what we hope to be a very special night."
With a scoring pass in his 48th consecutive game Sunday night, Brees can break Johnny Unitas' NFL record. The opponent is the San Diego Chargers, the team that drafted Brees as a second-round pick and allowed him to leave as a free gent.
According to a league spokesman, arrangements are being made for Brees to visit with Payton, Loomis and Vitt after the game to "share the moment" with them.
Payton and Loomis signed Brees as their quarterback even though he was recovering from a serious injury to his throwing shoulder. At the time, Brees' future was so uncertain that the Miami Dolphins were the only other team pursuing the eventual Super Bowl champion quarterback and league MVP.
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Payton was suspended for the season as a result of the Saints' bounty scandal, while Loomis was banned for the first eight games. Vitt received a six-game suspension.
There is precedent with Brees pursuing the idea of having them attend. The league granted Payton permission to attend Willie Roaf's Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and last weekend allowed Gregg Williams to see his son coach for the Rams in their game against the Seahawks. Williams' son serves as the Rams' linebackers coach.Information from ESPN NFL Senior Writer Chris Mortensen was used in this report.
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