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Saints Payton Reinstated

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.

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