BLACKFOOT – Following more than a week of hype surrounding the COVID-19 and the NBA, America's most followed sport now has a positive test from someone in the NFL.

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton has been diagnosed with the highly contagious virus and is under his own quarantine.

This follows more than a week of speculation about what the ultimate suspension of games and the presumed restart of the NBA in May or June was handed a severe blow on Tuesday with the announcement of four new confirmed cases of COVID-19, including superstar Kevin Durant and three of his teammates on the Brooklyn Nets.

Now comes the news that the virus has found its way into the NFL.

The more that information about the dreaded and highly contagious virus comes out, the more that we see that it has no boundaries and that anyone is susceptible to catching the virus and it can strike in any number of different ways. Now we find that the virus has struck closer to home here in Idaho. Of course most of us know that Payton leads the Saints of New Orleans, where former Blackfoot High School football star Josh Hill plays as does former Highland High School star Taysom Hill.

Now the virus has a whole new meaning to local residents as this hits closer to home.

There seems to be no boundaries to where this virus will surface next and there is no way to make any type of prediction as to when the world will find either a vaccine or a cure, but we do know that there are claims that we are getting close and that testing for both are currently underway or being planned.

There hasn't been any speculation yet as to the health of both Josh Hill and Taysom Hill and we can only hope that they and their families are safe and following all of the protocols that have been issued for all of us as we all should be and that this too shall pass.

Payton is the first NFL player, coach or staffer who has been confirmed with the COVID-19 virus.

Following is the report on Saints Coach Sean Payton as written by Nick Bromberg of Yahoo Sports.


New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton has been diagnosed with the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Payton told ESPN that he wanted to reveal his diagnosis to help other people recognize the severity of the virus and to heed all warnings and advisories from government and health officials. He said that he was fatigued but didn’t have a fever or a cough and had one of the more mild cases of the virus.

He said he was also making sure to practice good quarantine protocols while he was sick.

"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 was at a horse track over the weekend

Payton’s comments about flattening the curve and social distancing come just days after he was at a horse track. The coach was interviewed by horse racing channel TVG while he was at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas on Saturday about the potential impact of coronavirus on the NFL.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter said on “NFL Live” that Payton told him he started feeling sick on Sunday and took the coronavirus test Monday. Experts have warned that the coronavirus can take 2-14 days for symptoms to set in and that asymptomatic individuals can spread the virus unknowingly before they start to feel ill.

As of Thursday morning, there were nearly 350 known cases of coronavirus in Louisiana as the total of confirmed positive cases continued to grow in the United States. The total number of known cases in the U.S. surpassed 5,000 on Thursday.

Payton’s revelation comes after seven NBA players have tested positive for coronavirus and members of MLB organizations have also tested positive. (Hours before Payton’s diagnosis was published by ESPN, the Denver Nuggets said a member of their organization had tested positive for COVID-19 but did not reveal if that was a player or a staffer.)