Thomas Morstead
refer to caption
Morstead with the New Orleans Saints in 2012
No. 4 – Miami Dolphins
Position:Punter
Personal information
Born: (1986-03-08) March 8, 1986 (age 36)
Houston, Texas
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:225 lb (102 kg)
Career information
High school:Pearland (Pearland, Texas)
College:SMU
NFL Draft:2009 / Round: 5 / Pick: 164
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2021
Punts:737
Punting yards:34,313
Punting average:46.6
Longest punt:70
Inside 20:269
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Thomas James Morstead (born March 8, 1986) is an American football punter for the Miami Dolphins 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. He has one brother, Patrick. He attended Pearland High School and won varsity letters in football and basketball. In football, as a senior, Morstead received second-team All-District honors and was named the Brazoria County Special Teams MVP. He was also a member of the National Honor Society, adding Academic All-State honors.[1]

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. He was a member of the Conference USA's Academic Honor Roll in 2005, but never appeared in a game.[2] Morstead took over place-kicking and punting chores in 2006, earning All-Conference USA third-team honors. He led the league and ranked 15th in the nation in punting, averaging 43.82 yards on 50 attempts, the best average by an SMU punter since Craig James averaged 44.9 yards in 1982. He made 13 of 18 field goals and 34 of 35 extra points for a total of 73 points. He also recorded one solo tackle.[3]

As a sophomore, Morstead was a consensus All-Conference USA first-team pick and also gained league academic honors. He again led C-USA and finished eighth nationally with a 44.65-yard average, as the Mustangs also ranked fourth in the NCAA with a 39.33-yard net average. He scored 82 points and set the league single-season record by making all 43 PAT attempts, as he also connected on 13 of 20 field goals. Morstead concentrated more on directional punting in 2008. The All-Conference USA honorable mention averaged a career-low 41.78 yards on 59 punts, but only 19 were returned, as the Mustangs placed third in the league with a 37.22-yard net average. He made 11 of 15 field goals, 29 of 30 extra points and amassed 62 points. Morstead missed three kicks inside of 40 yards in 2008, four in both 2006 and 2007.[4]

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[5][6]

New Orleans Saints

Morstead was drafted in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL Draft with the 164th overall selection by the New Orleans Saints.[7] He was the second punter chosen in 2009, after Kevin Huber (by the Cincinnati Bengals).[8]

Morstead beat out Glenn Pakulak for the Saints' punting job in 2009. 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. 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.[9] He currently holds the record for most kickoff touchbacks in one game (9 in a 62–7 defeat of the Indianapolis Colts on October 23, 2011)[10] and the record for the most touchbacks in a single season (68 in 2011).[11]

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).[11] He went on to have an outstanding season, leading the league (with a record-setting pace through 15 games) in net punting yardage, and was elected to the Pro Bowl.[12]

Before the 2014 season, Morstead was selected as the Saints' special teams captain,[13] and he retained the title in 2015.[14]

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. 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.[15][16] 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.[17]

On March 16, 2018, Morstead signed a five-year contract extension with the Saints.[18]

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 Seahawks, earning him NFC Special Teams Player of the Week.[19] 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 Jaguars, earning him his second NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors of 2019.[20] He was also named NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for September.[21]

In Week 1 of the 2020 season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Morstead had 5 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 in Week 1.[22]

On March 4, 2021, the Saints released Morstead after 12 seasons.[23]

New York Jets

On September 14, 2021, Morstead signed with the New York Jets[24] to fill in for the injured Braden Mann. He was released on November 8.[25]

Atlanta Falcons

On November 23, 2021, Morstead signed with the Atlanta Falcons.[26]

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 Jacksonville Jaguars, earning NFC Special Teams Player of the Week.[27] He was also later named NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for December.[28]

Miami Dolphins

On April 8, 2022, Morstead signed with the Miami Dolphins.[29]

NFL career statistics

Legend
Won the Super Bowl
Bold Career high

Regular season

Year Team GP Punting
Punts Yards 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
Career 204 737 34,313 46.6 70 1

Personal life

Morstead is married to Lauren Morstead.[30] They have four children together.[31] Morstead is a Christian.[32]

Morstead and his wife, Lauren, created the charity What You Give Will Grow in 2014. To date, the organization has given over $2,500,000 to various causes.[33]

Morstead co-wrote a book with Sean Jensen named "The Middle School Rules of Thomas Morstead."[34]

References

  1. ^ "National Football League: NFL Draft 2009 - Thomas Morstead". NFL.com. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  2. ^ "Pro College Football Scouting". procollegefootball.blogspot.com. October 22, 2008. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  3. ^ "2008 Football Roster - 15 - Thomas Morstead". smumustangs.com. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  4. ^ "Thomas Morstead, Southern Methodist, NFL Draft - CBSSports.com - NFLDraftScout.com". CBSSports.com. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  5. ^ "Thomas Morstead Draft and Combine Prospect Profile". NFL.com. Retrieved March 27, 2022.
  6. ^ "2009 Draft Scout Thomas Morstead, Southern Methodist NFL Draft Scout College Football Profile". draftscout.com. Retrieved March 27, 2022.
  7. ^ "Thomas Morstead | Southern Methodist, P : 2009 NFL Draft Scout Player Profile". www.nfldraftscout.com. September 21, 2006. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  8. ^ "Kevin Huber News, Stats, Photos | Cincinnati Bengals". www.sbnation.com. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  9. ^ Hart, Jay (February 8, 2010). "Saints' onside decision 'terrified' rookie kicker". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  10. ^ Graves, Kandace (November 19, 2011). "Raffle for Thomas Morstead prize package ends Sunday". bestofneworleans.com. Retrieved November 19, 2011.
  11. ^ a b "Thomas Morstead, Saints agree". ESPN.com. July 26, 2012. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  12. ^ Hogan, Nakia (December 26, 2012). "New Orleans Saints punter Thomas Morstead, guard Jahri Evans named to NFC Pro Bowl squad". NOLA.com. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  13. ^ Yellin, Lyons (September 1, 2014). "New Orleans Saints name Junior Galette, four others team captains". WWLTV.com. Archived from the original on September 2, 2014. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
  14. ^ Terrell, Katherine (September 10, 2015). "New Orleans Saints vote three new captains for 2015 season". NOLA.com. Retrieved September 10, 2015.
  15. ^ "How did Thomas Morstead end up on field for extra-point attempt vs. Vikings?".
  16. ^ Gaines, Cork (January 15, 2018). "It took the Vikings 8 minutes to run a meaningless play after their playoff game was decided — but gamblers rejoiced". Business Insider. Archived from the original on January 31, 2018.
  17. ^ Duncan, Jeff (January 18, 2018). "Contributions to Thomas Morstead's foundation soar past $150,000 mark". NOLA.com. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  18. ^ Gantt, Darin (March 16, 2018). "Saints extend punter Thomas Morstead". ProFootballTalk.NBCSports.com.
  19. ^ Bergman, Jeremy (September 25, 2019). "Daniel Jones, Deshaun Watson among Players of the Week". NFL.com.
  20. ^ Baca, Michael (October 16, 2019). "Sam Darnold, Kyler Murray among Players of the Week". NFL.com. Archived from the original on October 16, 2019. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  21. ^ "Mahomes, McCaffrey among Players of the Month". NFL.com. October 3, 2019.
  22. ^ Gordon, Grant (September 16, 2020). "Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson among Week 1 Players of the Week". www.nfl.com. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  23. ^ "New Orleans Saints terminate contract of punter Thomas Morstead". NewOrleansSaints.com. March 4, 2021. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  24. ^ Greenberg, Ethan; Allen, Eric (September 14, 2021). "Jets Sign 4 Players; Place 4 on Injured Reserve". NewYorkJets.com.
  25. ^ Greenberg, Ethan (November 8, 2021). "Jets Release P Thomas Morstead". NewYorkJets.com.
  26. ^ "Falcons punter moves: Thomas Morstead signed to active roster; Dom Maggio joins practice squad". AtlantaFalcons.com. November 23, 2021.
  27. ^ Scott, Jelani (December 1, 2021). "Bengals RB Joe Mixon, Buccaneers RB Leonard Fournette among NFL Players of the Week". NFL.com.
  28. ^ "Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers highlight Players of the Month". NFL.com. Retrieved December 31, 2021.
  29. ^ "Roster Moves: Dolphins sign Morstead". MiamiDolphins.com. Retrieved April 8, 2022.
  30. ^ Duncan, Jeff. "Even in NFL games, Thomas Morstead's commitment rings true". Retrieved August 5, 2020.
  31. ^ DiFabrizio, Emilia. "Thomas Morstead Welcomes Fourth Child Over the Weekend". Retrieved August 5, 2020.
  32. ^ Romano, Jason (July 31, 2020). "NEW PODCAST: Thomas Morstead - New Orleans Saints Punter". Sports Spectrum. Retrieved August 5, 2020.
  33. ^ "OUR MISSION". Retrieved August 5, 2020.
  34. ^ "Thomas Morstead looks to inspire kids with his new children's book".