NFL notes: Saints, coach Sean Payton agree to contract extension
Suspended New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton has agreed in principle to a multiyear contract extension, according to two people familiar with the deal.
Final details regarding the length of the contract and financial compensation are still being worked out.
Payton was due to begin his seventh season as the Saints' head coach in 2012 before being suspended for the whole season by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in connection with the NFL's bounty investigation.
Payton signed an extension in 2011, but Goodell objected to certain language in that deal, leaving Payton's future uncertain until the deal was reached Friday.
Payton is the only coach in Saints history to win a Super Bowl, a title earned at the end of the 2009 season. But his legacy was tarnished by the NFL's bounty probe, as Goodell ruled that Payton failed to exert proper institutional control over a cash-for-hits bounty program run by former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams from 2009-2011.
Although the Saints objected to the characterization of what coaches and players have said was nothing more than a performance pool for big plays, Goodell suspended Payton for the entire season. The commissioner also suspended general manager Mickey Loomis for half of the season and assistant head coach Joe Vitt for six games.
Payton is 62-34 as in regular-season games as Saints head coach and 5-3 in the postseason. During the three seasons before his suspension, the Saints won 41 regular-season and playoff games combined, more than any other team in the NFL.
Around the league
Raiders • Quarterback Terrelle Pryor will make his first career start for Oakland in its season finale in San Diego. Coach Dennis Allen announced Friday that he is picking Pryor to start Sunday's game in place of the injured Carson Palmer. Pryor and Matt Leinart had been splitting time in practice earlier this week but Allen decided to go with the younger Pryor.
Browns • Thad Lewis will make his first career start against the NFL's top defense. Cleveland's third-string quarterback will start the season finale Sunday against Pittsburgh, filling in for injured quarterbacks Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy, who are both nursing sprained right shoulders. The Browns signed free agent Josh Johnson earlier this week.
Ravens • Safety Ed Reed was fined $55,000 by the NFL for his high hit on the New York Giants' Victor Cruz last weekend. Reed struck the receiver in the head and neck area, and was penalized for the hit in the game.
Panthers • Quarterback Cam Newton was fined $21,000 for abusive conduct toward a game official, and another $10,000 for kicking Oakland's Tommy Kelly after a play was over. Newton shouted at and bumped referee Jerome Boger in the fourth quarter of Carolina's 17-6 victory.
Niners • Tight end Vernon Davis practiced in a non-contact black jersey for the second consecutive day Friday but has not been cleared to play in Sunday's regular-season finale against Arizona. He suffered a concussion during last week's loss to Seattle.
Titans • Running back Chris Johnson is expected to start Sunday against Jacksonville after returning to practice Friday even though he was limited by an injured right ankle.
Week 17 schedule
• Jacksonville at Tennessee,11 a.m.
• Carolina at New Orleans,11 a.m.
• N.Y. Jets at Buffalo, 11 a.m.
• Baltimore at Cincinnati,11 a.m.
• Cleveland at Pittsburgh,11 a.m.
• Houston at Indianapolis,11 a.m., Ch. 2
• Philadelphia at N.Y. Giants, 11 a.m., Ch. 13
• Chicago at Detroit, 11 a.m.
• Tampa Bay at Atlanta,11 a.m.
• Oakland at San Diego,2:25 p.m.
• Arizona at San Francisco, 2:25 p.m.
• St. Louis at Seattle, 2:25 p.m.
• Kansas City at Denver, 2:25 p.m., Ch. 2
• Green Bay at Minnesota, 2:25 p.m., Ch. 13
• Miami at New England,2:25 p.m.
• Dallas at Washington,6:20 p.m., Ch. 5