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Transcript - Sean Payton Conference Call 10/23/20 | Week 7 vs. Panthers

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton talks about the Saints' wide receiver depth and the preparations for Week 7 against the Carolina Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday, October 25, 2020.

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Video Call with New Orleans Media
Friday, October 23, 2020

Just recently, a report came out about Emmanuel Sanders being placed on the reserve/COVID list. When did you all find out about that? And is there anything you can tell us about it?
"We found out yesterday, he wasn't feeling well. Right away, Beau (Lowery) sent him to our doctors for one of our tests that came back positive. After that happened, we traced those players he was around, coaches, we actually tested about 20 more people that might have been near him. And those all came back negative. Ken Crawley, for instance, came back with a timeframe that puts him out (for now). So he'll show up as COVID, but without a positive test, it's more of a precaution. So yesterday is when that all happened."

I noticed some of the players were wearing masks at practice today. Did that have anything to do with what happened with Sanders or protocol or anything like that?
"None of that. The protocols have been outstanding. He got this at home. He knows exactly how he got it. And I'll leave it at that."

With this coming this late (in the week), how does this pretty much affect the game plan? Or are you able to formulate around it?
"Well, listen, it's part of the deal. This year, we've talked about the distractions and focusing on the things you can control. Last night, we spent a lot of time relative to how we want to put the plan together in place of him. And we'll do so accordingly."

How do you feel about your depth at receiver?
"Good. A lot of different guys (are) working at different positions. And we had good work today."

Can you clarify, did Michael Thomas get injured during Wednesday's practice with the new hamstring injury?
"I'm not going to get into details, but it's something that he is working through. And I'll leave it at that."

Just to be clear, you said with the contact tracing and everything, are you confident that this is not going to be a reoccurring issue?
"We tested on our own, just like when we were in Detroit, we didn't just pay attention. Detroit, it showed with (Michael) Burton, it showed three, maybe three contact tracing, we tested seven or eight there. And then we did the same here. So beyond the norm."

You brought it up just now with Burton, did the tracers work this time, or I know you were a little upset when this happened in Detroit?
"It's part of the deal. All of our players are doing a good job wearing them. You wait for the tracing report (to come) in and then you go from there. What happened in Detroit was the four players within radius on the airplane of Burton did not show up on a two-hour flight, which was unusual. So we went ahead and tested all of those guys. And we kind of took the same approach yesterday."

Just have been through this a couple times, not even with COVID, but just like with missing players and everything, does that experience help with something like this just with having to kind of recycle guys in and out?
"Look at the start of the year, we began talking about some of the challenges coming into the season, and I think we've had a good focus. We had a good week of practice. Carolina's experiencing the same thing and that's just 2020 right now."

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