Saints HC Sean Payton Announces He's Been 'Cleared' After Coronavirus Diagnosis

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 25, 2020

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 05: Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints reacts on the field before the NFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings at Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 05, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, who is the first known person in the NFL to test positive for COVID-19, told WWL Radio (h/t Jeff Duncan of The Athletic) that he has been cleared.

Payton provided an update on WWL Radio's Sports Talk with Bobby Hebert and Kristian Garic:

"I was cleared yesterday. It's been quite a process, and you spend a lot of time trying to learn as much as you can about it. We're certainly seeing it on the news 24/7. 

"But basically a weekend ago, it wasn’t until Sunday night, when I first began to feel some flu-like symptoms. Monday morning, they were certainly a little bit more significant. I had a low-grade fever...and that's when I had my test on Monday and basically quarantined at that point at the house."

ESPN's Adam Schefter broke the news on Payton on Thursday, March 19. Payton then revealed the diagnosis on Twitter later in the day.

"There are hundreds of people right now in tough predicaments, fighting for their lives," Payton told Schefter. "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."

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Payton then caught up with NBC Sports' Peter King over the following weekend and said he was feeling better.

He still felt weak and stayed in self-quarantine at the time but reiterated the need for the public to react appropriately to the ongoing pandemic.

"Look, I feel well. I'll get better, and we'll go on, and we'll have the draft in some way, shape or form. That's not what's important right now. What's important is our health-care workers, our doctors and nurses, on the front lines of this thing. We've got to take care of them.

"For now, this is our life, and we've got to be prepared for it. Some basic stuff in all of our lives is going to be threatened. We've all got to exercise a little more social responsibility. We all felt invincible at some point in our lives, as young people do now. But think of the person you might be affecting."

Payton also told King that he planned to help a "cause affected by the virus" via his Play It Forward Foundation.

NFL teams, coaches, owners and players have contributed to COVID-19 relief efforts, including Saints owner Gayle Benson, who donated $1 million toward the creation of the Gayle Benson Community Assistance Fund.

News also emerged Wednesday from ESPN's Adam Schefter that the league plans to use the draft to increase relief funds. The draft is scheduled to take place from Thursday, April 23, through Saturday, April 25.

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