Sean Payton on Michael Thomas’ surgery: ‘Quite frankly, it should have’ happened sooner

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Woof. Sean Payton hasn’t often shied away from calling out his players in front of the media, but it’s rare to see the New Orleans Saints coach as frustrated as he was on Wednesday. During his pre-training camp press conference, Payton criticized All-Pro wide receiver Michael Thomas for the delay between the end of the 2020 season and his June ankle surgery, which landed him on the PUP list.

“It appears we’re going to have to spend some time without him,” Payton snapped. “It’s disappointing. We would have liked that to have happened earlier,” he paused, continuing: “And quite honestly, it should have. I’m going to leave it at that.”

Frustrations mounted for both sides throughout the 2020 season; Thomas was issued a one-game suspension following a fight in practice, but a comment directed at the coaching staff reportedly weighted into that benching more than any blows exchanged. It sure doesn’t sound like time has healed the friction between player and coach.

So this is very much a developing situation. Keep an eye out for updates.