NEW ORLEANS – Bill Parcells is unlikely to become the New Orleans Saints interim coach, according to multiple reports.
Parcells prefers to remain retired and not replace his protégé and friend, Sean Payton, who will serve a season-long suspension for his role in New Orleans bounty system, the reports said.
Saints spokesman Greg Bensel declined Tuesday to confirm Parcells has been ruled out as a possible Payton replacement, saying the team has nothing to report.
Parcells agent, Jimmy Sexton, also declined to comment.
If the Saints decide to select a replacement from their existing staff, the leading candidates are: assistant head coach Joe Vitt, who will serve a six-game suspension; offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr.; offensive line coach Aaron Kromer; new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
Last season, Vitt and Carmichael took on significant additional responsibilities when Payton was rehabilitating for weeks from a broken leg.
Also, Saints quarterback Drew Brees is still sticking up for his team and says it will continue to thrive.
Brees said he doesnt condone a bounty structure, but added theres a difference between pay-for-performance and pay-for-injury, and Id say what weve been accused of in regards to pay-for-injury is not the case.
Brees spoke at La Costa Resort & Spa while promoting his celebrity golf tournament. He sidestepped his unhappiness at being slapped with the franchise tag, declining to say whether hed skip offseason workouts.
Panthers WR signs contract extension
Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith expects to finish his career where it began 11 years ago.
Smith, who turns 33 in May, signed a contract extension that will likely keep him in Carolina at least through 2015. A person familiar with the deal told the Associated Press that Smith will earn approximately $18 million in guaranteed money over the next three seasons. There is also a club option for 2016.