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Saints coach Payton entertaining bored fans on Twitter while exposing team playbook

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton. (BRIAN BLANCO/Getty Images)
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton. (BRIAN BLANCO/Getty Images)

This coronavirus is a scary deal for a lot of people. Those who have tested positive, of course, but also those who have thus far dodged the disease.

The untouched have read or heard about the symptoms, but they really have no understanding of the severity. They understand there’s discomfort and pain, but they don’t know the levels.

They only know COVID-19 can kill, and not just the old or young.

This is why it’s important for victims — if they’re strong enough — to identify themselves and tell their story. And for sports celebrities to be leaders in society, to serve as a soothing influence when they can.

The first to step forward was Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert, whose March 11 diagnosis led to the suspension of the NBA season, which in turn prompted the NHL and MLB to hit the pause button. Gobert was “cleared” on Friday, as was teammate Donovan Mitchell, while the Boston Celtics’ Marcus Smart, who was diagnosed March 19, was given a clean bill of health Monday.

Others connected to the NBA who acknowledge testing positive included former league MVP Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets, Christian Wood of the Detroit Pistons, and, most recently, New York Knicks owner James Dolan.

Then there’s former star outfielder Jim Edmonds, who told his Instagram audience he has been in hospital due to coronavirus symptoms.

“Held off as long as I could,” wrote the 49-year old. “I thought I was tough enough to get through. This virus is no joke. #gethealthy.”

The NHL’s first two cases of COVID-19 surfaced in Ottawa, where for whatever reason it was decided to keep the players’ identity hushed. We can only hope their conditions haven’t worsened.

Meanwhile, stepping up was Senators broadcaster Gord Wilson, who not only revealed that he has tested positive, but early Monday remotely guested on CTV Ottawa Morning Live to detail what he has gone through as well as stress the importance of hand washing and social distancing.

For those who missed it, Wilson later went on Twitter to answer questions from the public, after this update: “Sense of smell and taste returned yesterday. Yay. More energy as well. Hoping the corner is being turned. Small victories but much needed. Day 14 since test.”

And then there’s Sean Payton.

Earlier this month the coach of the New Orleans Saints told the world he tested positive, then provide updates on both social media and to the mainstream media.

While he’s now feeling better, Payton remains quarantined and realizes that some folks need a break from Netflix. So on Sunday night he took it upon himself to provide some football entertainment.

Payton drew up four of the Saints’ favourite plays, took photos of them, then posted, explained, and answered questions about them on Twitter.

More, apparently, are to come.

When it was suggested that somebody should “unquarantine” him before he exposes the entire Saints playbook to defensive coordinators around the league, Payton replied: “They’ve been seein this!”

It’s nice to be seein’ celebrities understand it’s their public duty to act like leaders in a crisis.

NOT SO FAST

What does a free agent safety do with his spare time these days? In the case of Eric Reid, it’s have a collusion-case lawyer request invalidation of the new labour deal based on different language in the version provided to the players on March 5 than was used in the ratified version on March 15. The lawyer’s letter also requests a new vote on the CBA, which originally passed by a 1,019-to-959 margin. It’s not hard to envision the new agreement finding its way to the trash can and sides returning to the drawing board.

TALKING THE TALK

At least Marvin Jones hasn’t distanced himself from his confidence and brashness. Speaking on Instagram Live over the weekend, the 30-year old Lions receiver made a bold prediction for the 2020 season. “I want to lead the league … I want over 15 touchdowns,” said Jones. “Forget 10. I’ve had 10 already. I want (15). I want 1,400 (yards). Every time I step on that line, it just fuels me to be great.” Jones had nine touchdowns and 779 yards last season despite missing three games to injury and playing with backup QBs the final eight. He had a career-high 10 TDs in 2013 with the Bengals and a career-high 1,101 yards with Detroit in 2017. Only two receivers have had as many as 15 TDs since 2012: Antonio Brown (15) in 2018 and Dez Bryant (16) in 2014 … Former Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor believes he’ll see to it that the Chargers survive the departure of Philip Rivers just fine. “We have a lot of talent on our team,” Taylor told the Orange County Register . “If I am the guy that would be calling the shots, I know for sure that we’ll go out and turn a lot of heads.” Taylor, 30, threw just six passes in a backup role for the Chargers last season. In 2018 he played in four games for the Browns. The Chargers almost certainly will draft a quarterback in the first round of the draft next month. Maybe Oregon’s Justin Hebert can turn some heads.

EXTRA POINTS

After trading two first-round picks and a second to get left tackle Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills from the Dolphins, the Texans reportedly are in tough negotiations with Tunsil on a new deal. A story in the Houston Chronicle says they have offered Tunsil a long-term deal that averages $18.5 million a season and will make him the highest-paid offensive lineman in the league. The report says Tunsil’s counteroffer is “significantly higher.” People pay big money to watch linemen, don’t you know? … Testing positive for coronavirus recently was Tom Dempsey, the former Saints kicker who known for nailing a 63-yard field goal in 1970 despite having no toes on his kicking foot. The 71-year old Dempsey, who also played for the Eagles, Rams, Oilers and Bills, is battling Alzheimer’s disease and dementia as well … The Steelers have signed DE Dewayne Hendrix, who is the fifth former XFL player they have added … Former Broncos cornerback/kick returner Goldie Sellers died over the weekend at the age 78 of complications from cancer.

dbrennan@postmedia.com

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