Eastern Illinois will retire Sean Payton's number

The Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints will kick off the NFL season on Thursday, Sept. 9 when they host the Minnesota Vikings.

Two days later, Saints coach Sean Payton will return to his roots. Payton will have his No. 18 retired in a ceremony at Eastern Illinois University. Payton was the Panthers quarterback from 1983 to 1986 and led the team to the I-AA quarterfinals as a senior. When he was through playing, he topped the school’s all-time chart in total offense with 10,298 yards.

The ceremony will be held Sept. 11 in Eastern Illinois’ home opener with Central Arkansas. Eastern Illinois retired the number of another famous former quarterback last fall when Tony Romo was honored.

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