METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Saints coach Sean Payton says defensive tackle Nick Fairley is seeing multiple heart specialists after one physician advised Fairley to stop playing football.

Payton says he hopes Fairley can return to the Saints, but not unless the 29-year-old defensive lineman has “full confidence” that continuing to play won’t worsen a heart condition he’s had throughout his six-year NFL career.

Fairley, a former Auburn star and 2011 first-round draft choice by Detroit, was one of New Orleans’ top defensive performers last season. He was credited with 6 1/2 sacks, nine tackles for losses and 22 quarterback hits in 2016.

This offseason, Fairley signed a four-year extension worth up to $28 million, but has not participated in any of the club’s voluntary offseason work.
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(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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