Mike Westhoff, Tim Tebow

FILE - In a Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, file photo, New York Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff speaks with quarterback Tim Tebow before an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Tebow barely played during a massively disappointing one-year experiment, which recently retired special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff labeled "an absolute mess." (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File)

Bill Kostroun

INDIANAPOLIS — The Saints would like to get special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff back in New Orleans, even if it's only for the regular season. 

Westhoff, who the Saints pried out of retirement in November, helped lead a special teams unit that improved from 25th to 14th in the annual special-teams rankings compiled by Hall of Fame writer Rick Gosselin.

"The plan is, hopefully, to bring him back," Payton said. "But it might be where he comes in once in the spring and then waits until we get started in training camp."

Westhoff, 70, is recovering from surgery right now. When Westhoff was younger, he suffered from bone cancer in his left leg, and he's had dozens of surgeries to repair the damage since then. 

"He had a pretty significant surgery," Payton said. "His hip down through his leg, that was all removed, and they put another piece in. He'll be up and around in a little bit, but it will take him a while. I don't want to speak for him, but hopefully his rehab continues to go well."

Follow Joel A. Erickson on Twitter, @JoelAErickson.