Sean Payton set to return to Tampa, where he fractured his leg in 2011

New Orleans Saints trainers tend to head coach Sean Payton, center, after he was run over on a play during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco) Show caption
New Orleans Saints trainers tend to head coach Sean Payton, center, after he was run over on a play during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

Saints’ Payton returns to Tampa Bay for first time since fracturing his leg in 2011

Because of a season-long suspension a year ago, New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton will be patrolling the sideline in Raymond James Stadium on Sunday for the first time since fracturing his leg there in an Oct. 16, 2011, game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Payton had to have surgery after he fractured his leg and tore the medial collateral ligament in a sideline collision with three players — including Saints tight end Jimmy Graham — on the game’s third play.

Payton’s leg was pinned underneath Graham when Graham and two Bucs defenders rolled out of bounds.

Payton tried to call plays from the bench while watching the game on the Jumbotron for the remainder of the first half, which quarterback Drew Brees said was challenging, and eventually turned the duties over to offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr.

Brees said he can now chuckle about what happened.

“I haven’t even thought about that to be honest with you, the fact that we are going back to Tampa — the scene of the crime,” Brees said Wednesday. “He was in extreme pain, and he goes over where the offensive linemen sit and he’s sitting with his leg propped up calling plays from the Jumbotron.

“All of a sudden, the field flips and we’re no longer going the way he was looking. So as he’s looking at the hashes (and) everything is flipped around. There were times when he would start a play and it was the wrong hash and I’d flip it. But he hung in there as long as he could to stay with us.”

Practice report

Five players did not participate Thursday as the Saints continued to prepare for Sunday’s game.

Not working for the second straight day were DE Tyrunn Walker (knee), NT Brodrick Bunkley (calf) and S Isa Abdul-Quddus (ankle). DE Glenn Foster (ankle) and CB Corey White (illness) were also out.

LB Curtis Lofton (knee), CB Jabari Greer (back) and CB Patrick Robinson (foot) were limited, while LB Martez Wilson (elbow) and LB Junior Galette (hamstring) were among those practicing fully.

Adams out

Bucs cornerback Michael Adams, a former UL-Lafayette standout, did not practice Thursday and was listed as out by coach Greg Schiano. Also not practicing was TE Tom Crabtree (ankle), while G Carl Nicks and DE Adrian Clayborn (hip) had limited participation.

Hitting a hundred

The 23-17 win against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday was the 100th as an NFL starting quarterback for Brees.

Brees, who is in his 13th season, is now 100-70 as a starter with the Saints and San Diego Chargers.

Brees was 30-28 with the Chargers, who selected him in the second round of the 2001 draft, and is 70-42 with the Saints in the regular season.

Jumping Vinny

With 357 yards against the Falcons, Brees now has 46,276 passing yards in his career — moving him past Vinny Testaverde (46,233) and into seventh place on the league’s all-time list.

In two or three games, Brees will pass Pro Football Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton, who piled up 47,003 yards in his career, and into sixth on the all-time list.

Thomas’ milestone

Saints running back Pierre Thomas went over the 3,000-yard mark in career rushing in Sunday’s game when he picked up 43 yards on nine carries.

Thomas, a seven-year veteran who made the roster as an undrafted free agent, now has 3,017 rushing yards for his career. That has him in seventh place on the club’s all-time list, 113 yards behind Ricky Williams (3,129).

Vaccaro draws fine

Even though it won’t officially be announced until Friday, Saints rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro was fined by the NFL for his late hit on Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan in Sunday’s game.

Ryan scrambled for a first down in the first quarter and was in the process of sliding to the turf when Vaccaro came up and made the hit. Vaccaro was fined $7,875 by the league.