Saints’ Sean Payton advises team there will be no virtual offseason or minicamp, per report


Sean Payton has always been Frank Sinatra-esque, considering he routinely does things his way, and 2020 is no different. The NFL has forced all teams to close their facility doors due to the coronavirus pandemic and, as such, clubs are forced to begin the offseason virtually; should they opt to. Payton sees no reason for the New Orleans Saints to turn on iPads and laptops for meetings anytime soon though, and is bucking the trend. 

He’s reportedly advised his staff and players there will be no virtual offseason for the black and gold, per Dianna Russini of ESPN, but that wasn’t his only message. Driving his point home further, Payton says even if the NFL lifts the facility ban in the near future in a way that could possibly permit a traditional mini-camp — don’t show up. 

“No virtual workouts, no online meetings, no workouts at the facility — even if its allowed,” the message read, via ESPN. 

Payton, who is currently recovering from COVID-19 himself, is focused on making sure the Saints take time during this unprecedented event to focus on things that carry a higher priority to football. It’s unknown when the curve will begin to flatten on coronavirus and it’s contagion level has reached the point wherein many states and local jurisdictions are mandating by law people wear cloth masks when coming in contact with others. With this all in mind, Payton isn’t comfortable with the idea of a possible minicamp in May or June, even if the NFL gives the green light. 

All he asks is that when training camp begins, presumably as scheduled in July, that players show up ready and raring to go.

“Show up in July for training camp in the best shape of your life,” he said. “Take care of your families, your health, and be ready this summer.”

Payton was the first person affiliated with the NFL to test positive for coronavirus, and it helped form his current perspective. 

Players from around the league are currently doing their best to continue staying in shape while sheltering in place, and the Saints head coach believes that’s enough to have his troops ready for training camp. It’ll be interesting to see what other teams follow Payton’s lead, considering there isn’t much that can be accomplished virtually anyway — when comparing it to what would’ve been conventional reporting to voluntary and mandatory workouts. Even if no one else does, Payton has, and it should surprise no one. 

He doesn’t need a reminder of how important family time is during the current health crisis.





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