Kicking the season into high gear
greg miles photo
A leader both on and off the field, New Orleans Saints punter Thomas Morstead brings a commitment of positivity to his team and his adopted hometown.
A Saint for the past nine years, Morstead has been a crucial part of the team, with a kicking average of 47 yards per punt average, and was named the team’s 2014 Man of the Year.
Off the field, Morstead has gained local and national attention for his “What you Give Will Grow” foundation, with the focus on tackling cancer-related, specifically pediatric, fundraising events and initiatives.
The foundation while active throughout the year, was also was recognized last winter by Minnesotans, who donated more than $200,000 to his New Orleans-based foundation in response to the player’s sportsmanlike conduct on the field during the division playoff game in January 2018. Morstead returned the gesture by donating that money, plus a $25,000 donation from Coach Sean Payton, to the Minnesota Children’s Hospital.
Locally, Morstead also completed a “chin up challenge,” in which he completed 418 pull ups in 60 minutes, and raising more than $63,000 for a school fund for a former Saints sales account executive who lost his battle with cancer earlier this year.
From the Vikings fans to the Who Dat Nation, Morstead, aka “The Leg,” will have plenty of fans backing him throughout this season, and with New Orleanians continuing to cheer him on, on and off the field.
Q: What is your favorite thing about your job? The camaraderie in the locker room. I have forged so many amazing relationships that will last a lifetime.
Q: What do you do to prepare for a new season? One of the most important aspects to my game is starting from scratch every off-season. Obviously the common thought would be that you continue to build on previous years but I like to start over and relearn all the technical aspects of punting and kicking the football.
Q: What are your passions off the field? I know this may seem obvious, but I love my family more than anything. My wonderful wife Lauren is such a kind soul. Our three children, Maxwell, Beckett, and Maggie are all such blessings.
Q: What was the inspiration behind “What You Give You Grow?” My senior year of college I was very fortunate to be coached by Frank Gansz, Sr. He taught many lessons to me in the one year we had together. My favorite quote of his is, “What you give will grow and what you keep you lose.” That always resonated with me and I knew I wanted to honor him in someway once I made it in the NFL.
Q: What did it mean to you have Minnesota Vikings fans contribute to your organization? You could never have planned for something like that to happen. It was just so pure and organic. It honestly helped me cope with the way the season ended. It gave me something positive to focus on after the loss.
Q: What was the response to you turning those Vikings donations back to benefit Minnesota’s Child Life program? I believe one of the reasons it went so viral was because of the decision to give the money back to the people of Minnesota, who were making all of the donations in the first place.
Q: What does being a New Orleanian mean to you? I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams ever being so fulfilled in so many areas of my life. Most of the time I just had my head down trying to accomplish things that I set out to accomplish but every now and then it really is amazing to look up and see what all has transpired. I think gratitude sums up everything the best way. My family and I are so grateful to be living in New Orleans and making it our home. We have wonderful neighbors and couldn’t be any happier.
Q: Is there a career goal, either on or off the field, that you aspire to achieve? I try not to sit too long term goals. Things can change very quickly in this NFL. As my career continues I continue to make year by year goals of what I’d like to accomplish. It’s honestly just about trying to get my highest level day in and day out. Focus on the process and the results will take care of themselves.
AT A GLANCE
Education: Southern Methodist University 2004-2008; Mechanical engineering w/biomedical specialization, two classes shy of graduating
Favorite Book: “Mind Gym” Favorite Movie: “Cinderella Man”
Favorite TV show: I don’t watch TV, got three kids haha.
Favorite Food: steak and potatoes
Favorite restaurant: Irene’s Cuisine
True Confession: I eat brownies after every game.