Roger Goodell says league office has communicated with Sean Payton regarding reinstatement, and won't eliminate happening before SB #saints— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) December 13, 2012
According to Werder's full report, "Payton would like an adjustment on the suspension so it would end at the conclusion of the regular season as opposed to after the Super Bowl, a source close to the coach suggests."
Because the Saints would need a miracle to even make the playoffs, coming back before the Super Bowl wouldn't really help Payton at the moment.
Werder mentions that more focused discussions on the subject are expected after the holidays.
It will be interesting to see how these talks go, considering Tagliabue's rulings. The former NFL commissioner left Goodell very little to stand on with the entire scandal, and that should extend beyond the players to Payton as well.
There are other interesting things to consider as well.
Payton doesn't have to come back and coach the Saints, and Werder addresses that by stating that he, "could be pursued by a team such as the Dallas Cowboys if owner and general manager Jerry Jones fires coach Jason Garrett."
Whether Payton gets to coach a few meaningless games at the end of the year or not, it would still be nice for him to be allowed back in the game again. It has to be tough for him to watch New Orleans limp along this season, especially now that the bounty scandal has become so muddied and inconclusive.
This will be interesting to keep an eye on.
Goodell and the NFL's league office are in control here, but there's no doubt that they will feel some pressure from fans to reinstate Payton, at least by the end of the season.