New Orleans Saints HC Sean Payton Isolated Ahead of Crucial Fixture Against Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Published 12/18/2021, 7:46 AM EST
New Orleans Coach Sean Payton | Mandatory Credit: USA Today| Courtesy: Reuters


On Sunday night, the New Orleans Saints will meet the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Raymond James Stadium. Their matchup will be even more difficult up ahead since they will play without their head coach, Sean Payton. On Friday, after testing positive for COVID-19, Payton was removed.

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Payton, who is reported to be vaccinated, will be held in isolation for 10 days until he passes the league’s guidelines for a fully vaccinated individual before returning to the team environment. During his absence, the Saints have assigned defensive coordinator Dennis Allen the duties of the head coach, and his first task would be to defeat the defending champions of the league.

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“Sean’s our leader and he’s the guy that’s been running the show around here. So, it’ll be a lot different,” Allen told reporters. “… The real deal is that he’s prepared all of us for how we have to play the game. We know what’s expected of us.”

“Every single one of us, every coach, player, and staff member knows what’s expected of us. Our job’s to go out there on Sunday and perform. That’s what we plan on doing.”

Sean Payton to return after Christmas

Payton’s positive test comes after he missed practice on Wednesday, claiming he was under the weather but testing negative. On Thursday, Payton returned to training and meetings before being isolated. Payton is likely to return to New Orleans’ next game on December 27, against the Miami Dolphins.

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Payton’s positive test came as COVID-19 cases have spiked across the NFL in recent days. Teams like the Cleveland BrownsLos Angeles Rams, and Washington Football Team, crippled with multiple players and coaches testing positive for Covid. Noting this recent fiasco of cases, the NFL has also rescheduled three games this week.

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With four regular-season games remaining, the Saints (6-7) ended a five-game losing streak by defeating the Jets 30-9. They remain in contention for one of the NFC’s wild-card playoff positions. But the question remains: will they be able to beat the Buccaneers without Sean Payton assisting them from the sidelines?

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Sauvik Banerjee

676 articles

Sauvik Banerjee is currently an NFL writer at EssentiallySports. After completing his Bachelor’s degree in English and Economics from Lucknow University, Sauvik combined his love for NFL and passion for writing to work for team ES. Sauvik has functioned as a content marketing intern at Kyari Innovations and had a brief stint with Knocksense Lucknow.

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