Thomas Morstead
refer to caption
Morstead in 2010
New York Jets
Position:Punter
Personal information
Born: (1986-03-08) March 8, 1986 (age 37)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:225 lb (102 kg)
Career information
High school:Pearland (Pearland, Texas)
College:SMU (2004–2008)
NFL draft:2009 / Round: 5 / Pick: 164
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 18, 2023
Punts:897
Punting yards:41,972
Punting average:46.8
Longest punt:70
Inside 20:333
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Thomas James Morstead[1] (born March 8, 1986) is an American football punter for the New York Jets of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at SMU and was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL Draft.

Early years

Morstead was born in Houston, Texas, and was raised in a nearby suburb of Pearland, Texas.[2] He has one brother, Patrick. He attended Pearland High School and won varsity letters in football and basketball.[3][4] In football, as a senior, Morstead received second-team All-District honors and was named the Brazoria County Special Teams MVP.[citation needed] He was a member of the National Honor Society, adding Academic All-State honors.[5]

College career

Morstead enrolled at Southern Methodist in 2004, turning down scholarship offers from Texas Christian, Rice, Texas and Missouri, but spent the season as a redshirt.[6][7] He was a member of the Conference USA's Academic Honor Roll in 2005, but never appeared in a game.[8] Morstead took over place-kicking and punting chores in 2006, earning All-Conference USA third-team honors. He led Conference USA with an average of 43.82 yards on 50 attempts, the best average by an SMU punter since Craig James averaged 44.9 yards in 1982.[9] He made 13 of 18 field goals and 34 of 35 extra points for a total of 73 points. He recorded one solo tackle.[10]

As a sophomore, Morstead was a consensus All-Conference USA first-team pick and also gained league academic honors. He again led C-USA with a 44.65-yard average.[11] He scored 82 points and set the league single-season record by making all 43 extra point attempts, as he also connected on 13 of 20 field goals.[12] Morstead concentrated more on directional punting in 2008. The All-Conference USA honorable mention averaged 41.78 yards on 59 punts. He made 11 of 15 field goals, 29 of 30 extra points and amassed 62 points.[13]

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split Bench press
6 ft 4+14 in
(1.94 m)
225 lb
(102 kg)
32 in
(0.81 m)
9 in
(0.23 m)
4.88 s 1.79 s 2.91 s 19 reps
All values from NFL Combine[14][15][16]

New Orleans Saints

Morstead with the Saints n 2012

Morstead was drafted in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL Draft with the 164th overall selection by the New Orleans Saints.[17] He was the second punter chosen in 2009, after Kevin Huber (by the Cincinnati Bengals).[18] Morstead beat out Glenn Pakulak for the Saints' punting job in 2009.[19] As a rookie, he recorded 58 punts for a 43.59 average.[20] He played a critical role in the Saints' victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. Morstead executed an onside kick during the second half kickoff. The Saints recovered the ball and were able to convert that possession into a touchdown and a 13–10 lead. The Saints would eventually win the game 31–17.[21] After the game, Morstead stated that while he was excited about executing the play, he was also terrified knowing that if the play was not executed perfectly, the Colts would have likely recovered the ball with a shot of extending their 10–6 lead.[22]

In the 2010 season, Morstead had 57 punts with a 45.93 average.[23]

Morstead currently holds the record for most kickoff touchbacks in one game (9 in a 62–7 defeat of the Colts on October 23, 2011)[24] and the record for the most touchbacks in a single season (68 in 2011).[25] He finished the 2011 season with 46 punts with a 48.35 average.[26]

In July 2012, the Saints signed Morstead to a six-year extension stated to be worth $21.9 million, making him the second highest paid punter in the league (after Shane Lechler of the Oakland Raiders).[25] He went on to have an outstanding season, leading the league (with a record-setting pace through 15 games) in net punting yardage,[27] and was elected to the Pro Bowl.[28] He had 74 punts with a 50.09 average in the 2012 season.[29]

In the 2013 season, Morestead finished with 61 punts with a 46.87 average.[30]

Morstead (left) serving as holder at the 2013 Pro Bowl

Before the 2014 season, Morstead was selected as the Saints' special teams captain.[31] In the 2014 season, he finished with 58 punts with a 46.38 average.[32]

Morstead retained the captain title in 2015.[33] In the 2015 season, Morstead finished with 56 punts with a 45.55 average.[34]

In the 2016 season, Morstead finished with 57 punts for a 48.26 average.[35]

In the 2017 season, Morstead finished with 60 punts for a 47.03 average.[36] In the NFC Divisional matchup versus the Minnesota Vikings, Morstead tore cartilage in his rib cage after making a tackle in the first quarter but remained in the game. Nevertheless, he was visibly hurt as he punted throughout the game.[37] The Vikings scored the winning touchdown in the closing seconds of the game, and both sides assumed that the contest was over with Saints players headed for the locker room, however Morstead was the first player to return to the field for the extra point attempt.[38][39] Vikings' fans were impressed by the toughness and sportsmanship Morstead displayed in the eventual defeat, so a Vikings-dedicated Reddit group donated more than $140,000 to his charity in less than 24 hours, and Morstead presented the donations to the Children's Hospital of Minnesota.[40]

On March 16, 2018, Morstead signed a five-year contract extension with the Saints.[41] In the 2018 season, he punted 43 times for a 46.42 average.[42]

In Week 3 of the 2019 season, Morstead downed four of his six punts inside the 20-yard line in a 33–27 win over the Seattle Seahawks, earning him NFC Special Teams Player of the Week.[43] In Week 6, Morstead pinned five of his six punts inside the 20-yard line with a long of 51 yards in a 13–6 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, earning him his second NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors of 2019.[44] He was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for September.[45] In the 2019 season, he punted 60 times for a 46.17 average.[46]

In Week 1 of the 2020 season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Morstead had five punts inside the 20 yard line during the 34–23 win. He was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance.[47] In the 2020 season, Morstead finished with 62 punts for a 43.13 average.[48]

On March 4, 2021, the Saints released Morstead after 12 seasons.[49]

New York Jets

On September 14, 2021, Morstead signed with the New York Jets[50] to fill in for the injured Braden Mann. He was released on November 8.[51]

Atlanta Falcons

On November 23, 2021, Morstead signed with the Atlanta Falcons.[52]

In his Falcons debut in Week 12, Morstead downed three of his five punts inside the 20 yard line in the 21–14 win over the Jaguars, earning NFC Special Teams Player of the Week.[53] He was also later named NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for December.[54] In the 2021 season, he punted 45 times for a 47.18 average.[55]

Miami Dolphins

On April 8, 2022, Morstead signed with the Miami Dolphins.[56]

In a Week 3 game against the Buffalo Bills, Morstead inadvertently kicked a punt in the endzone into the buttocks of teammate Trent Sherfield, resulting in a safety. The play went viral, becoming known as the "Butt Punt". [57][58] In the 2022 season, Morstead punted 61 times with a 46.36 average.[59]

New York Jets (second stint)

On April 7, 2023, Morstead signed with the New York Jets.[60]

During Week 8 against the New York Giants, Morstead punted the ball 11 times, averaging 48.1 yards per punt, with the ball landing inside the five-yard line three times, securing the 13-10 win. [61][62] Morstead was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance.[63]

NFL career statistics

Legend
Won the Super Bowl
Led the league
Bold Career high

Regular season

Year Team GP Punting
Punts Yds Avg Lng Blk
2009 NO 16 58 2,528 43.6 60 0
2010 NO 16 57 2,618 45.9 64 0
2011 NO 16 46 2,224 48.3 64 1
2012 NO 16 74 3,707 50.1 70 0
2013 NO 16 61 2,859 46.9 61 0
2014 NO 16 58 2,690 46.4 63 0
2015 NO 14 56 2,551 45.6 58 0
2016 NO 16 57 2,751 48.3 66 0
2017 NO 16 60 2,822 47.0 68 0
2018 NO 16 43 1,996 46.4 60 0
2019 NO 16 60 2,770 46.2 64 0
2020 NO 16 62 2,674 43.1 58 0
2021 NYJ 7 23 1,108 48.2 59 0
ATL 7 22 1,015 46.1 64 0
2022 MIA 17 61 2,828 46.4 66 0
2023 NYJ 17 99 4,831 48.8 62 0
Career 238 897 41,972 46.8 70 1

Postseason

Year Team GP Punting
Punts Yds Avg Lng Blk
2009 NO 3 13 618 47.5 66 0
2010 NO 1 4 191 47.8 55 0
2011 NO 2 5 227 45.4 60 0
2013 NO 2 7 260 37.1 55 0
2017 NO 2 8 375 46.9 57 0
2018 NO 2 7 305 43.6 50 0
2019 NO 1 5 229 45.8 50 0
2020 NO 2 5 200 40.0 58 0
2022 MIA 1 6 262 43.7 52 0
Career 16 60 2,667 44.5 66 0

Personal life

Morstead and his wife, Lauren, have four children.[64][65] Morstead is a Catholic.[66][67]

In 2014, Morstead and his wife, Lauren, created the charity What You Give Will Grow.[68][69][70]

Morstead co-wrote a book with Sean Jensen named "The Middle School Rules of Thomas Morstead."[71]

References

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