Saints Coach Sean Payton Opens Up About Coronavirus Battle

Dan Mennella
March 23, 2020 - 3:01 pm

Saints coach Sean Payton, who tested positive for the coronavirus last week in the NFL’s first reported case, revealed on Monday that he is feeling better, and expressed frustration at how some Americans are responding to the pandemic.

“I’m feeling OK,” Payton said on Good Morning America, “mostly fatigue.”

Payton said he began feeling unwell in the days prior to March 16, when he decided to get tested at the advice of a Saints team doctor.

“When I went in last week on Monday, I had the chills, a little low-grade fever,” Payton said. “Certainly felt like I had the flu, when you just want to lay in bed and not do anything. Gradually, during the course of this week, I’d say I’ve gotten progressively a little better each day. I haven’t had any respiratory issues, and then Thursday I found out the test came back positive.”

The positive result came as little surprise to Payton, who said he was prepared for it.

“I was under the assumption it was going to be positive. Talking with our team doctor, he said, ‘More than likely, it’s probably an 85 percent chance, this time of the year, with the symptoms you’re having, it’s going to come back positive. But we do want to get a test on that.’”

When asked about those who are ignoring government recommendations for self-isolation and avoiding large gatherings, Payton expressed disappointment.

“We all have someone that we know very closely — for me it’s, my parents are both deceased — but elderly people who are close to us. The idea that you could be invincible when you’re younger, first off there are younger people who are dying from this virus.

“And then the idea that you could transmit or carry this to someone who isn’t healthy enough to withstand it, or even a healthcare worker that we need to take care of someone who is close to us. So I think the minute people start looking not only close to home, but man there is some common sense here, and there is too much science and too much data for us to be ignoring that. And you get terribly frustrated when you see that.”

While Payton was convalescing from coronavirus last week, the Saints carried on with their standard offseason business. The team officially re-signed longtime quarterback Drew Brees, signed veteran wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, and re-signed defensive back Malcolm Jenkins after his stint with the Eagles.

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