Saints' Sean Payton Discusses Coronavirus After Being Medically Cleared

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 31, 2020

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 05: Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints runs 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 Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, who was the first person in the NFL with a publicly confirmed COVID-19 case, spoke with Jarrett Bell of USA Today about his experience.

"You fatigue real easy," Payton said. "I'd be up moving around, doing something, then you'd want to lay down again. That lasted three or four days. By the time I got the test results back I had begun feeling better. I had my appetite back."

Per Bell, Payton also had "flu symptoms, chills, aches and for one day, he said, a low-grade fever."

Payton, who said he is "100 percent recovered," was forced to go into self-quarantine. He told Bell that he got a "little stir-crazy" but that he spent much of his time resting and recovering.

He also spoke on FaceTime with family and friends, watched Netflix, spoke with the NFL's competition committee and worked on a few new projects related to his new home.

As for where Payton thinks he may have obtained COVID-19, he said it's "impossible" to truly know.

"Oh, my gosh," he said. "Impossible."

"If you didn't travel and were in only maybe three controlled environments, it would be easier (to determine)," he said. "But shoot, I was at Mardi Gras. After that, I was in New York City for a week, then down to Florida for three days and then back to New Orleans. I have no idea."

Thankfully, the rest of Payton's family has not tested positive for COVID-19, including his fiancee and two children.

As for what's next, Payton is interested in donating blood but isn't sure if that's possible at this time.

"I'm in that unique group that they believe can't get it again this season and can't give it.

"I'm waiting to hear if people like me are going to be able to give blood. I don't know the specifics, whether that's through a transfusion or plasma replacement. I know they're looking to see if there's a benefit to people who have had it and recovered from it and now maybe have the blood or the antibodies built up to help someone who has it. I'm waiting to hear if that's the case and if it is, what's the protocol and where do you go to give blood."

For now, Payton is back at work as of Monday. He and the rest of the Saints are preparing for the draft remotely. Per Bell, the Saints will begin holding conference calls Wednesday to "stack" their draft board, a process usually done at team headquarters. That isn't happening now with the NFL ordering all teams to close their doors until further notice.

The 56-year-old has coached the Saints for 14 seasons, compiling a 131-77 record and winning 10 or more games in eight seasons. He led New Orleans to a win in Super Bowl XLIV over the Indianapolis Colts in February 2010. The Saints have reached the NFC title game three times under his watch.