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Report: NFL, Payton discuss return

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NFL commissioner Goodell has contacted suspended New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, and allowed for the possibility of a reinstatement prior to the Super Bowl, according to an ESPN.com report.

Payton would like the suspension to end after the regular season, a source close to the coach told ESPN.com.

Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue made a final ruling on the Saints' bounty scandal Tuesday, prompting questions about whether Goodell would allow Payton to return early from his season-long suspension. Currently, he can't be reinstated until after the Feb. 3 Super Bowl in New Orleans.

Goodell told ESPN.com Wednesday that he and Payton discussed the reinstatement process and will have additional conversations after the holidays.

"I don't want to say he could be because, again, we are in the early stages," Goodell told reporters. "We are starting to talk about it."
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