Payton on Thomas’ availability vs. Panthers: ‘We’ll see’
New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton announced Wednesday that the discipline surrounding Michael Thomas is over, however he remained coy about the wide receiver’s availability for the next game.
Thomas was scratched from New Orleans’ 30-27 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Oct. 12 after he reportedly punched teammate Chauncey Gardner-Johnson during a fight in practice.
He was fined nearly $59,000 for conduct detrimental to the team.
While the Saints (3-2) are ready to return from last week’s bye, Payton wasn’t ready to commit to Thomas being on the field for Sunday’s home game against the Carolina Panthers (3-3).
“We’ll see,” said Payton, who swiftly turned the conversation to the health of his star wideout. Thomas had missed the previous three games with a left ankle injury.
“I think he’s feeling better,” Payton said. “We really don’t get into injuries or predictions, so you guys will be the first to know.”
Thomas has played in just one game this season, recording three receptions for 17 yards in the Saints’ 34-23 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 13.
The 27-year-old Thomas led the NFL in both receptions (single-season-record 149 catches) and receiving yards (1,725) in 2019.
A two-time All-Pro selection and the league’s 2019 Offensive Player of the Year, Thomas racked up 1,000 or more receiving yards in each of the four seasons since being drafted in the second round in 2016 out of Ohio State.
The Saints signed him to a five-year, $96.25 million contract extension on July 31, 2019.
–Field Level Media