BOSTON (CBS) — Coronavirus has hit the NFL. New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton has tested positive for the virus, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Thursday.
The 56-year-old is the first person in the NFL to test positive for coronavirus. He did not feel well over the weekend, had the test done on Monday, and received the results on Thursday, according to Schefter.
Payton is now at home and quarantined through the weekend. Though he’s fatigued, he said he does not have a fever or cough, and he came forward to spread the message to stay home during the national crisis.
“This is not just about social distancing,” Payton told ESPN. “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.
“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,” he said.
The NBA, NHL and MLB have all shut down and paused their seasons amid the pandemic, which has shut down much of the country. But the NFL has continued on with free agency, which officially started Wednesday, though players are having a tough time finalizing deals due to physicals. Players aren’t allowed in team facilities, and though some are open to undergoing physicals from outside parties, some teams aren’t on board.
The NBA has seven players who have tested positive for coronavirus so far, plus an undisclosed member of the Denver Nuggets organization. On Wednesday, the Ottawa Senators become the first NHL team to have a player test positive for the virus.