NEW YORK (AP) - Sean Payton is back as coach of the New Orleans Saints. His season-long suspension for his role in the Saints' bounty program has been lifted by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell nearly two weeks earlier than expected.
The decision allows Payton to attend the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., on Saturday, where some of the top college players available for the NFL draft will be competing.
In a statement, Payton said that he recognizes "that mistakes were made, which led to league violations." He went on to say he has "assured the commissioner a more diligent protocol will be followed."
The suspension was scheduled to end after the Super Bowl on Feb. 3, but was moved up after Payton and Goodell met on Monday.