ATLANTA (AP) - New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton made a surprise return to the sideline for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Payton said this week he would remain in the press box for at least one more game as he continues to recover from a broken leg and knee injuries he suffered in a sideline collision on Oct. 17.
Instead, Payton was leaning on crutches, wearing a brace on his left leg, as he watched from the Saints sideline.
Ben Montgomery, the NFL's observer at the game, said Payton was approved to return to the sideline but was told he must remain a few yards away from the field.
"He has to stay behind the white box," Montgomery said, referring to the marked area where players and coaches normally stand.
"He's OK to be there. He has permission," Montgomery said.
Payton was standing in the box, instead of behind the line, at times during the first quarter.
Payton is wearing black shorts, a white Saints sweatshirt and a white visor.