Saints head coach Sean Payton tests positive for COVID-19, will be absent vs. Buccaneers

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The New Orleans Saints announced on Friday that head coach Sean Payton has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not be on the field or at the facility on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Payton, who is fully vaccinated (though his booster status is unknown), "isolated immediately" once his test came back positive. He's required to be out for at least 10 days, or until "he meets the league requirements for a fully vaccinated individual to return to the team environment." Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen will take on the head coaching duties against the Buccaneers on Sunday. According to the team, Payton will return for the Saints' Week 16 game against the Miami Dolphins.

Payton is the second head coach to test positive over the past few days. Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski tested positive on Wednesday and will likely not be on the sideline for Saturday's game against the Las Vegas Raiders — though a decent amount of his team may not be there either, as the Browns have sent nearly 20 players to the reserve/COVID-19 list. The Chicago Bears lost all three of their coordinators to COVID protocols on Thursday, as well as a good number of players.

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