NFL Combine: Falcons Mike Smith on Sean Payton's return

AP Photo
AP Photo

Indianapolis, In. - The Saints and Falcons meet twice a year and for some, that's just not enough.

The trash talk, the fans, and the success of the squads make this a can't-miss-game.  And now Sean Payton is back to keep the matchup interesting "Sean has got a great record in New Orleans," Falcons coach Mike Smith said.  "I think the proximity of the cities make it competitive"

Some might claim that the NFC East or AFC North are the power conferences but Coach Smith says no chance "The NFC South, in my opinion, is the most competitive division in the National Football League.  I think when you watch and look at the scores of the division games, they're tight every year.  Since I've been in it, there's been different teams winning it.  It's not one team that's dominating it.  And it's very competitive"

The Saints defense has been shredded over the years by Tony Gonzalez but retirement is calling the tight end.  His coach, however, isn't ready for the all-pro to leave just yet:

"I've spoken with Tony and I hope you guys understand when I talk to my players; I try to keep those conversations private.  We know that Tony has had an outstanding year for us.  We know what he said at the beginning of the season, and if there's any update on it, you guys, I'm sure, will be the first to know"

Running Back Michael Turner could also be done with the Falcons.  Smith said this time of year, tough decisions have to be made.

For more reports from Garland Gillen and Sean Fazende at the NFL Combine, tune into FOX 8.