New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton Tests Positive For Coronavirus, First In The NFL

Sean Payton at a Saints game.
Sean Gardner / Getty Images

Sean Payton has tested positive for coronavirus. On Thursday, March 19, Payton spoke to ESPN about his diagnosis, telling the outlet that he started not feeling well last Sunday and got tested for coronavirus the very next day. He received his results this afternoon. While he does feel tired, Payton considers himself “lucky” because he does not have “serious side effects.” He told ESPN that he does not have a fever nor a cough.

“This is not just about social distancing. It’s shutting down here for a week to two weeks. If people understand the curve, and understand the bump, we can easily work together as a country to reduce it. Take a minute to understand what the experts are saying. It’s not complicated to do what they’re asking of us. Just that type of small investment by every one of us will have a dramatic impact. I was fortunate to be in the minority, without the serious side effects that some have. I’m lucky. Younger people feel like they can handle this, but they can be a carrier to someone who can’t handle it. So we all need to do our part. It’s important for every one of us to do our part,” Payton told the outlet.

The New Orleans Saints head coach is the first person associated with the NFL to test positive for COVID-19. Despite the rapid spread of the virus, it appears as though some players are still getting ready for the 2020 season. On Wednesday, Detroit Lions wide receiver Danny Amendola was spotted catching passes from quarterback Baker Mayfield.

The state of Louisiana has seen an uptick in coronavirus cases over the past few days. According to the Louisiana Department of Health, the state has 347 cases of COVID-19 reported and ten people have died from the virus thus far.

As to why Louisiana seems to be a bit of a hotspot, Payton weighed in on that as well.

“The concern with Louisiana is the amount of people that come in and out of this area after Mardi Gras season. This is an area that doctors are concerned about. So our parents, and those that are more susceptible to this virus, deserve everyone doing their best to combat it. There are hundreds of people right now in tough predicaments, fighting for their lives. Let’s be part of the solution, not the problem. We can easily help reduce the numbers of those impacted. We have to do our best to beat this and I know we can,” Payton said.

Payton has been the head coach of the Saints since 2006. He expects to make a full recovery.