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Originally published Friday, December 28, 2012 at 10:08 PM

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Report: Payton, Saints agree on extension

The New Orleans Saints and suspended coach Sean Payton will indeed be together again next season as the bounty scandal fades into history...

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NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Saints and suspended coach Sean Payton will indeed be together again next season as the bounty scandal fades into history and the bid to win a second Super Bowl resumes.

Payton has agreed in principle to a multiyear contract extension, according to two people familiar with the deal.

"Very happy it is official," quarterback Drew Brees said in an email to AP. "Never had any doubts."

Payton was due to begin his seventh season as the Saints' coach in 2012 before being suspended for the season by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in connection with the NFL's bounty investigation.

Payton signed an extension in 2011 that would have kept him in New Orleans through 2015, but Goodell objected to certain language in that deal, leaving Payton's future uncertain until the deal was reached Friday.


• Niners tight end Vernon Davis practiced in a noncontact black jersey for the second consecutive day and is taking the necessary steps, according to NFL-mandated protocol, to return from a concussion he suffered during last week's loss to the Seahawks. The 49ers have a pressing need for their starting tight end to return after the team placed starting wide receiver Mario Manningham (knee) on injured reserve, leaving San Francisco without its second-leading receiver.

• Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed was fined $55,000 by the NFL for his high hit on the New York Giants' Victor Cruz last weekend.

• Carolina quarterback Cam Newton was fined $21,000 for abusive conduct toward a game official, and another $10,000 for kicking Oakland's Tommy Kelly after a play was over.

• Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy was fined $25,000 for striking Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer in the back with his helmet.

• New England's Vince Wilfork was docked $30,000 for hitting Jacksonville offensive lineman Steve Vallos in the head with his forearm.

• San Francisco's Anthony Davis was fined $10,000 for a late hit on Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane.

• Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor will make his first career start in the season finale in San Diego.

Thad Lewis, Cleveland's third-string quarterback, will make his first career start against the Pittsburgh Steelers, which has the NFL's top defense.

• Receiver Davone Bess (back) has been ruled out of the Miami Dolphins' season finale at New England.

• Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew is having surgery on his left foot and will be out at least until May.

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