The NFL has significantly altered its 2020 offseason in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and now it appears one of the league's biggest names has been personally affected by the virus. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Thursday that New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton has tested positive for the coronavirus. Payton, 56, came forward with his diagnosis to ESPN, Schefter added, "because he wants all people to heed the warnings of government officials, stay inside, and behave responsibly."
Countless other leagues have seen the virus, an infectious respiratory illness, impact players and coaches. Kevin Durant is among several notable NBA players who have shared positive diagnoses, while others -- including players in the XFL and MLB's minor-league system -- have come down with the virus. But Payton's announcement, per Schefter, marks the first known case of COVID-19 in the NFL, which imposed new rules for 2020 free agency and April's upcoming draft as a result of the global issue.
Payton didn't feel well on Sunday, the day before the start of the NFL's legal tampering period, according to ESPN, and underwent testing on Monday before receiving the results earlier Thursday. He's now resting at home, fatigued, but has no fever or cough and is "upbeat and optimistic about a full recovery" from his home, where he will be quarantined through the weekend.
"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. I was fortunate to be in the minority, without the serious side effects that some have. I'm lucky. Younger people feel like they can handle this, but they can be a carrier to someone who can't handle it. So we all need to do our part. It's important for every one of us to do our part."
This was originally published on CBSSports.com on March 19.