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New Orleans Saints facing discipline again for COVID-19 violations

TAMPA, Fla. -- The New Orleans Saints are again facing discipline for violations of the NFL's policies on COVID-19 that may have contributed to one of their star players becoming infected, and the punishment is likely to be the biggest yet for their third offense, sources say.

Running back Alvin Kamara tested positive for COVID-19 and missed the team's Week 17 game after an interaction in the facility with a person not employed by the club who turned out to be positive -- a violation captured on surveillance video obtained by the NFL, per sources.

Several other Saints running backs also missed the Week 17 game because they were deemed high-risk close contacts, and Kamara was only able to return for the wild-card round because of a favorable scheduling decision.

The Saints previously were fined $250,000 and coach Sean Payton $100,000 for failing to properly wear face coverings in Week 2. The NFL also fined the team $500,000 and took away a seventh-round pick for a maskless celebration following its Week 9 win.

While the discipline in this case has not yet been finalized -- and could be reduced if the Saints issue fines internally for violators -- it may end up including multiple and/or higher draft picks and an even larger fine.

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