The NFL’s COVID-19 opt-out deadline has now passed as of 3pm CST today. No additional New Orleans Saints players have chosen to opt-out of the season after tight ends Jason Vander Laan and Cole Wick made the decision late last month.
Multiple players across the league have decided to not participate in the season for personal reasons surrounding COVID-19. Most notably, the New England Patriots have a record eight players choosing to sit out.
This team is poised to make another run at a Super Bowl and every player understands what is at stake. Other than Vander Laan and Wick, no other Saints player was expected to opt-out ahead of the deadline considering what this season means to the club.
Saints head coach Sean Payton mentioned in a press conference on Wednesday that the teams who make the playoffs this season will likely be those who have avoided the virus the most effectively. For this reason New Orleans has rented out a large portion of the Loews hotel in order to create their own type of “bubble.”
Payton pointed out how avoiding the the virus will likely be hallmark of all the playoff teams. Keeping Covid out is going to rank right up there with talent and execution this year. Paramount to success. Why they have the hotel for now.
— Nick Underhill (@nick_underhill) August 5, 2020
In order to remain relatively COVID-free, something that may define a team’s success this season, the Saints will need to have the same ruthless approach and attention to detail in adhering to precautions as they do to preparations for games.
With the opt-out deadline behind them, New Orleans can look ahead to preparation for the season and training camp. This may very well be one of the most unique seasons in the league’s history. Regardless, it is Super Bowl or bust for this Saints squad.