Sean Payton Nov 24, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton on the sidelines in the second half against the Carolina Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints won, 34-31. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton told ESPN on Thursday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus. Payton is the first person in the NFL known to test positive for COVID-19.

Payton, 56, told ESPN that he came forward because he “wants all people to heed the warnings of government officials, stay inside, and behave responsibly,” according to Adam Schefter.

Here’s more from Payton (via Schefter at ESPN.Com):

“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.”

Payton is “resting at home, fatigued, but said he is one of the 20 percent of the cases that has no fever and no cough,” according to Schefter. The head coach will be quarantined in his home through the weekend, and “said he is upbeat and optimistic about a full recovery.”

Payton has put together a remarkable .630 winning percentage (208-131) over 13 seasons as the New Orleans head coach, and won Super Bowl XLIV. The Saints have won at least 11 games seven times during Payton’s tenure, including each of the past three seasons (with 13 wins in 2018 and 2019).

And with this news, there are known positive COVID-19 cases in all four of the major American sports leagues (if we include the minor leagues for MLB). It’s hard to see the American sports world getting back into action anytime soon.

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

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