New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton told his players on Wednesday that the team will not hold any formal offseason workouts or have any type of program this spring, according to ESPN’s Dianna Russini.
“Show up in July for training camp in the best shape of your life,” Payton reportedly told the team. “Take care of your families, your health and be ready this summer.”
Payton is the first known coach to reportedly relay that message to his team.
Last week, the NFL and NFLPA agreed to modified offseason workout rules as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. According to ESPN, the memo states that if teams do decide to conduct offseason workouts that “classroom instruction and on-field activities that customarily take place at the Club facility…are being supplanted by on-line classroom instruction and virtual workouts for an indeterminate period.”
No NFL team is required to participate in the virtual period, which runs through May 15, and the Saints made clear to their players that there will be no “virtual workouts,” per ESPN.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic altering much of the sports world, the NFL has largely continued in its operation, going forward with free agency and the NFL draft. The upcoming draft, held April 23-25, will be conducted virtually, however, as NFL facilities remain closed with few exceptions.
Few cases throughout the sport of football have been officially reported. Payton announced in mid-March that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
As of Wednesday afternoon, there are more than 2.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, causing at least 172,000 deaths. There are at least 805,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States.