Emmanuel Sanders had a terrific on-field reaction to the catch that secured a $500,000 contract incentive in Week 17, but his coach one-upped him after the game. The New Orleans Saints wide receiver gushed about his first-year experience on Sean Payton’s team before sharing a quick anecdote about what Payton told him once they were flying home for the playoffs.
“Every morning I walk into work, Sean greets the entire team,” Sanders said during an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show. “Every morning he’s judging my outfit, because I like to dress up to go to work, right? Every day he’s telling me, ‘That’s a good outfit, that’s a [expletive] outfit, that’s okay and that’s that.’”
Sanders continued, laughing: “So I get the $500 (thousand) and he comes to the back of the plane, just to mess with me, and he tells me, ‘Yeah you got your $500,000, don’t be wearing those bull [expletive] white pants anymore.’”
It’s a great story and does a lot to show how Payton is able to connect with his players, but Sanders used it to illustrate a point. He’s seen two different versions of the Saints coach in his time on the team; one of them is gregarious, a bit of a prankster, and upbeat during the week. And the other side of Payton only appears on game days, laser-focused on the matchup and hyperaware of what’s going on around him, on the sidelines and on the field.
That’s a tough act to balance, and Sanders admitted that not every coach he’s been around has pulled it off. But he’s clearly enjoyed his experience in New Orleans despite the chaos surrounding the 2020 season, and it feels safe to say he’s eager to perform under the bright lights in the playoffs — and come back for more in 2021.