Saints renting a hotel to create an optional team bubble for the camp

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METAIRIE, La. – The New Orleans Saints have rented four floors of the Loews Hotel in downtown New Orleans to create an optional bubble-like atmosphere for players and staff who choose to stay there for the following month of training camp.“It’s not a bubble. It’s a receiver, ”Saints coach Sean Payton told NBC’s Peter King, who first reported details of the team’s plan.

Staying at the hotel is optional. Payton has estimated that around 150 people will stay there out of a total of 180 players, coaches and managers, as well as medical, cafeteria, security and support staff. Owner Gayle Benson was willing to pay the high cost to help eliminate some health risks.

“The league’s message is, ‘The show has to go on,’” Payton told King. “If this is the case, we have to do all we can to make sure that happens. ”

Athletic’s Jeff Duncan previously reported that Benson was willing to rent an entire hotel for the entire training camp. But Duncan reported that the plan violated NFL protocols and that some players were reluctant to be kidnapped for so long.

No Saints player has tested positive for the coronavirus since testing began last week. The team has reduced its roster to 80 players over the weekend and begins strength and conditioning work on Monday.

Payton alluded last week to his apparent dissatisfaction with the altered preseason / training camp schedule, repeatedly pointing out that “there is nothing about it that looks like training camp” .

But he said the teams that can adapt the best will benefit the most.

“Well, it doesn’t matter no matter how it feels,” Payton said. “What is important is to quickly take what we have been given and prepare to prepare the team. ”

Payton said the Saints will have as many padded workouts as allowed, with competitive scrums being key to player ratings.

“I’ll tell you this, the amount of running and lifting they’re going to do is going to be important,” Payton said. “Again, it’s their schedule, it’s not our schedule – it’s the union’s schedule, it’s the board’s schedule. This is not the schedule recommended for these evenings by our coaches. So we have the schedule, and we will follow it until a T. “

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