Jets punter Thomas Morstead embracing his second chance

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Jets punter Thomas Morstead embracing his second chance

DENVER — Thomas Morstead learned, from watching his former Saints teammate Drew Brees, that you can only worry about things you can control.

That lesson has paid off for him over the past six months, especially the last one.

Morstead made his debut as the Jets’ punter last week against the Patriots at MetLife Stadium. His wife, Lauren, and their four children were in the stands watching him take the field in a moment that capped a wild time for Morstead and his family.

“As you get older, things become even more special,” Morstead said in a phone interview this week. “This popped up out of thin air with Braden [Mann] getting hurt, and we said, ‘Hey, let’s get everybody up here and give the kids a good experience.’ Let them see Dad try to keep the train rolling and persevere after kind of a tumultuous past year.”

The Saints released Morstead in March after 12 years with the team. The move was not a complete shock because it saved the Saints cap space, but Morstead thought they might give him a chance to take a pay cut instead of just cutting him. He struggled through 2020 as he dealt with a back injury and an eye issue.

Jets punter Thomas Morstead embracing his second chance
Thomas Morstead during his time with the Saints.
AP

The 35-year-old had been one of the best punters in the NFL over the past decade. He had an iconic moment in Saints history when he booted the surprise onside kick in Super Bowl XLIV. Morstead said he bears no resentment toward the Saints, but part of him wishes he got a chance to defend his job.

After the Saints cut him, Morstead wanted to keep playing, but had to wait. On Aug. 29, Hurricane Ida struck New Orleans as the Morsteads were preparing to move into a new house a week later. They suddenly were without power and water, and the neighborhood was a mess. They left town for 10 days until the power came back and then moved into their new house on Sept 10.

Two days later, Morstead was watching an NFL Sunday from his couch for the first time since college. The Jets lost Mann to an injured left knee that day and phoned Morstead that night. He flew to New Jersey on Monday, worked out for the Jets and was signed. Morstead had one punt for 45 yards last week with the Jets.

“Sometimes, change is a good thing,” Morstead said. “The newness is this year has revitalized me a little bit and rejuvenated me. I’m just excited to be here. I don’t want to sit here and say I’m just here to fill the gap for three weeks even though that may be the case. Really, I’m just trying to add value anyway I can. There’s a lot of young guys on this team. I’m trying to be a resource for all those guys.”

It is unclear how long Mann will be out and how long Morstead will be a Jet. But Morstead sounds grateful to literally still be kicking and knows his future here is another one of those things that is out of his control.


The Jets elevated OL Isaiah Williams to the active roster on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s game in Denver.

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