New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton turned to ice cream, binge-watching and seclusion after his team’s football season game to an excruciating end.
Payton was finally ready Wednesday to stand in front of reporters for his NFL-mandated, end-of-season media availability, some 10 days after New Orleans’ 26-23 overtime loss to the Rams in an NFC Championship Game marred by one of the most glaring officiating errors in NFL history — the non-call of pass interference and helmet-to-helmet contact penalties committed by a Los Angeles defensive back late in the fourth quarter.
“I would say, honestly, after the game for two to three days, much like normal people, I sat and probably didn’t come out of my room, ate Jeni’s ice cream and watched Netflix,” Payton said. “There are certain vices you gravitate to. For me, it’s probably sugar.
“I don’t know that you ever really get over it, but you do get past it,” Payton added. “This time away is healthy.”
Payton said he probably would watch this Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Rams and Patriots because it’s what people in his profession do.
Photo: Gerald Herbert / Associated Press
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Payton also said he’d received countless phone calls, emails and text messages of support since the game, including a call from Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, who was able to relate with Payton on some level. Gruden was coaching the Raiders in the playoffs in January 2002, when an apparent lost fumble by New England’s Tom Brady was ruled an incomplete pass on video review.
The overturned call allowed New England to tie the game late and eventually win en route to the franchise’s first Super Bowl triumph.
• Washington hired Rob Ryan, the defensive coordinator with the Raiders from 2004 through ’08, as inside linebackers coach. Ryan most recently served as the Buffalo Bills’ assistant head coach for defense in 2016.
Guilty plea over basketball bribes
Former Oklahoma State assistant basketball coach Lamont Evans pleaded guilty to taking bribes from business advisers to steer them to college athletes expected to turn pro.
Evans, 41, entered the plea in New York federal court to conspiring to commit bribery. He admitted receiving $22,000 to steer the players at South Carolina and Oklahoma State to certain financial advisers and business managers, attorney Johnny McCray said.
Evans also agreed to forfeit the bribe money he received from two financial advisers as part of the deal he signed.
“I now know that accepting those funds in exchange for introducing them to any one player was wrong and violated the law,” he said.
Evans, the third former NCAA assistant coach to plead guilty in the case, faces sentencing May 10. A plea agreement between Evans and prosecutors recommends no more than two years behind bars.
Baseball: Two people familiar with the negotiations say reliever Greg Holland and the Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to a $3.25 million, one-year contract.
A 33-year-old right-hander, Holland was 2-2 with a 4.66 ERA with St. Louis and Washington last season, when he earned $14 million. He has a 2.83 ERA in eight major-league seasons.
• First baseman Mark Reynolds says he has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Colorado Rockies. If he is added to the 40-man roster, Reynolds would receive a $1 million, one-year contract and a chance to earn $1 million in performance bonuses.
Reynolds, 35, spent 2016 and ’17 with the Rockies before joining Washington last season. He hit .248 with 13 homers and 40 RBIs in 86 games and 235 plate appearances.
• The Nationals hired 88-year-old ex-manager Jack McKeon as a senior adviser to general manager Mike Rizzo.
Soccer: A crowd of 48,121 attended a women’s Copa de la Reina semifinal match in Spain in which host Athletic Bilbao lost 2-0 to Atlético Madrid, the largest ever attendance for a club-level women’s match in Europe.
The record for any women’s match was the 90,185 people who watched the 1999 World Cup final between the United States and China at the Rose Bowl.
• Paris Saint-Germain said Neymar is expected to be sidelined for about 10 weeks with a right foot injury.
• Liverpool couldn’t fully capitalize on Manchester City’s latest slip-up in the English Premier League title race, only drawing 1-1 with Leicester to extend its lead to five points.
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