The New Orleans Saints will reportedly honour suspended head coach Sean Payton during his season-long ban from the NFL by leaving the 48-year-oldís seat open during team functions.
ESPN reports last seasonís NFC South champions will leave a chair vacant during team meetings and wonít fill Paytonís usual seat on the teamís bus and plane trips.
The Saints announced last month that assistant head coach Joe Vitt, who must serve a six-game suspension, will act as the teamís interim head coach until Payton completes his one-year ban. The coaches were suspended for being involved in the Saintsí bountygate scandal.
According to Paytonís stand-in, his absence is noticeable.
"Since I've been here, as soon as we got off the practice field, Sean and I would go right to a meeting and talk about what we wanted to do differently in the afternoon," Vitt told ESPN. "I didn't have that this year. We also would do a lot of communicating on the practice field.Ē
Along with Payton, multiple members of the club received various suspensions and penalties after an investigation determined the organization operated a bounty program from 2009-2011 that hinged on big hits and injuring opposing players.