Saints go with Vitt as interim coach
The New Orleans Saints named Joe Vitt interim coach, despite the top assistant’s six-game suspension for his role in the club’s bounty system.
The Saints had to find a one-season replacement for head coach Sean Payton, whose season-long suspension in connection with the bounty scandal begins Monday and runs through the next February’s Super Bowl.
New Orleans general manager Mickey Loomis said in the release Thursday that Vitt will take over Monday.
“It is important that we keep Sean Payton’s philosophy front and center during this season,’’ Loomis said. “We considered a number of great options to handle Payton’s duties both internally and externally, but believe this will provide the most seamless transition for our players and our coaching staff, allowing our offensive and defensive staffs to remain intact with the fewest changes.’’
Vitt will be able to oversee the offseason training program and training camp, before stepping aside for the first third of the regular season.
The Saints did not say what their plans will be during Vitt’s six-game suspension.
“We will work through the offseason under this plan and when we get to training camp we will decide on a course of action for the first six weeks of the season,’’ Loomis said.
The Saints’ assistants who can pick up the slack during Vitt’s absence include offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, offensive line coach Aaron Kromer, and new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
Giants obtain LB Rivers
The Bengals traded linebacker Keith Rivers to the Giants for a fifth-round draft pick, ending his four-year stay in Cincinnati marred by frequent injuries. Rivers missed all last season recovering from surgery on his right wrist . . . The Bengals agreed to a deal with cornerback Terence Newman, an unrestricted free agent from Dallas . . . The Steelers agreed to terms with two of their free agents, wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery and offensive lineman Trai Essex.