New Orleans Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis announced Thursday that the club has terminated the contract of punter Thomas Morstead.
Morstead, 6-4, 235 pounds, spent the last 12 seasons in Black and Gold after being selected in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL Draft out of SMU. A team captain since 2013, he made an immense contribution both on the field with the organization and with the local community.
Morstead appeared in 190 career regular season games, ranked fourth in team record books and punted 692 times for 32,190 yards for a 46.5 gross punting average and a 41.6 net, ranked second in NFL record books since the statistic was first recorded in 1976. 251 of his punts landed inside-the-20-yard line, tied for the 33rd-highest total since the stat was recorded in 1976 and the most in club record books. Morstead served as the club’s primary kickoff specialist from 2009-14 and 259 of his 532 career kickoffs have sailed into the end zone for touchbacks (48.7%). His most famous work from a kicking tee occurred as a rookie in Super Bowl XLIV, when he successfully executed an onside kick at the start of the second half that was recovered by New Orleans and led to a touchdown, nicknamed “Ambush”. Morstead was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2012, when he was also a consensus All-Pro. Throughout his career, he has been selected as NFC Special Teams Player of the Week five times.
Morstead also appeared in 15 postseason games for New Orleans, second in club record books and punted 54 times for 2,405 yards with a 44.5 gross punting average and a 41.0 net with 19 dropped inside-the-20.
In 2020, Morstead appeared in all 16 regular season games, for the 11th time in his 12-year career and punted 62 times for 2,674 yards with a 43.1 gross punting average, 41.7 net with 23 dropped inside-the-20 yard line. He was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week following the season-opening win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, when he booted six punts for 264 yards with a 44.0 gross/net, five inside-the-20 and also successfully hit a kickoff that was fumbled by Tampa Bay and recovered by New Orleans to set up a touchdown.
Off the field, Morstead and his wife Lauren made extensive contributions to the Gulf South Community, leaving a lasting legacy through their “What You Give Will Grow” foundation, established in 2012. The team’s nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2013, Morstead focused the majority of his efforts in the region on cancer-related and child-related initiatives, as well as stepping up to assist those in need during holiday seasons as well as when natural disasters affected the region.
“Thomas Morstead has been the epitome of the consummate pro since the day we selected him in the 2009 NFL Draft,” said Loomis. “He has been a remarkable punter and an outstanding leader in the locker room and eight-time team captain. His work in the community has been nothing short of remarkable. We know that as we approach the beginning of the NFL calendar year that very difficult decisions have to be made and this certainly falls into this category. We appreciate the dedication and professionalism that Thomas has brought to our organization from the moment he joined our team and sincerely wish both he and his family the best.”
“Thomas has been a very important part of the New Orleans Saints organization and our community since 2009,” said Saints Head Coach Sean Payton. “It has been an honor to have coached him and to have witnessed his growth as a player and a person. He has been a great leader and mentor to many younger players throughout his career and his Pro Bowl level of play year-in and year-out has been remarkable. I know that Thomas will be highly successful in the future and am grateful to have had the opportunity to coach him.”
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