Sean Payton updates Saints no offseason program this spring, players say


METAIRIE, Louisiana – New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton told players Wednesday that they will have no type of offseason program this spring, virtual or otherwise, according to players who spoke with Dianna Russini of ESPN.

“Take care of your families, your health and get ready this summer,” said Payton.

Payton shared the news in a video conference with more than 80 players on Wednesday morning. He said the Saints will not have a team-led offseason program, even if the NFL rules change and allow players to return to their facilities.

“No virtual training, no online meetings, no on-site training, even if it’s allowed,” said Payton. “Show up in July for the best shape training camp of your life. “

Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said at a pre-game press conference on Wednesday that the team will continue to communicate with players throughout the off-season, but “we’re not going to virtual training and things like that. “

“I think (Payton’s point) is more about,‘ Listen, take care of your family. Be careful to protect yourself and your family. Respect the orders of each of the states in which you are. We’ll take care of it, ”said Loomis. “” Get back in shape. And then when we are able to get together, we will continue and have a great training camp and a great season. ”

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“And, look, we have a lot of guys that we have great confidence in and great confidence in form when we start training camp. “

The NFL and NFLPA agreed last week to a set of modified off-season training rules to help them navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a league note obtained by ESPN, if the teams decide to organize training programs out of season this year, “classroom instruction and field activities that generally take place in Club facilities … are supplanted through online education and virtual workouts for an indefinite period. “

The rules for “virtual” off-season programs state that no NFL team is required to participate in the “virtual period”, defined as April 20 to May 15, and that a team may do classroom work online even if it doesn’t. t assign specific training to its players. If a team decides to organize an off-season program, its players would receive their usual daily allowances as if they were there in person ($ 235 minimum per day) and would be entitled to receive the off-season training bonuses specified in their contracts, provided they fulfill the participation conditions specified in their contracts.

If a team refuses to participate in the “virtual period” from April 20 to May 15, it will not be allowed to conduct an interseason training program after the end of this period, whether virtual or in the field. After May 15, each team will have six weeks of off-season program, whether they have used their three weeks from April 20 to May 15.

The note leaves open the possibility that the COVID-19 restrictions may be relaxed or lifted after May 15, but provides for the possibility that off-season programs should also be conducted practically after that date. He clarified that no team offseason program can be run after June 26 and, perhaps more importantly, that if a team’s facilities remain closed due to COVID-19, the 32 facilities teams must also remain closed.

As to whether it is realistic to hope that the teams can have a normal training camp in July and August, Loomis said: “This is a good question. You know as much as I do, really.

“We don’t know what the future holds,” said Loomis. “We are going to plan as if we are going to have our normal training camp, but we don’t know. These decisions will be made above my salary level. “

Loomis said it helps the Saints to have such continuity, with the same coaching staff and as many base players having been together for a long time. He compared it to the 2011 lockout.

However, Loomis acknowledged that the lack of a full offseason could affect how teams look at developing players in their draft and what expectations they will have for all recruits in the first year.

“I don’t know if I can say that it would change” philosophies “(on whom to write). But I think we’ve had discussions about guys who are a little more scalable, and the fact that we’re not going to be having so much time with them this offseason, “said Loomis. “So it will be more difficult for them to contribute during the first year than usual.

“But, look, it comes down to:” What is your long-term vision for these guys? “That will not stop us from taking someone for whom we have a long-term vision. But we recognize that we may not get as many credits in the first year as you would otherwise. “


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