Thomas Morstead talks NY Jets return and answers fan questions in interview

NY Jets, Thomas Morstead
NY Jets, Thomas Morstead / Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

New NY Jets punter Thomas Morstead has had a storied NFL career. The longtime New Orleans Saints specialist has appeared in over 220 games during his 14-year stint in the NFL.

He's done it all. He's played in and won a Super Bowl title. He's been named to an All-Pro team. Only a handful of active players have punted the ball more than the 798 times he's done so.

It's impossible to overstate the career that Morstead has had on the field, but what many don't realize is just how impactful he's been away from the gridiron.

From his numerous charitable ventures to even writing his own children's book, the man underneath the helmet is just as impressive as what he's been able to accomplish with the helmet on.

I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Thomas and speak to him about his return to the Jets. We discussed everything from how his Jets return came about to what his go-to karaoke song is.

Below is only a partial transcription of our interview. To watch the interview in its entirety, be sure to click here and subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don't miss out on any additional content.

Thomas Morstead on his return to the NY Jets

Justin Fried: "What's it like being able to reunite with and work with some familiar faces like Thomas Hennessy, Justin Hardee, Brant Boyer, and Braden Mann again?"

Thomas Morstead: "It's exciting. Stability and continuity are really important. It's not only important for players, but it's important for coaches. Sometimes when you bring a new piece in, you think it's going to work out, but you really don't know until they get there. I already know the coaching dynamic. We already know that it works. That's good for everybody. I'm excited about it."

JF: "What was the process like returning to the Jets this offseason? Was it always going to be the Jets or were there other teams interested?"

TM: "I wouldn't say it was always going to be the Jets. Absolutely not. I had a great run in Miami. I really enjoyed my time [there], and I was honestly shocked and disappointed that I didn't end up going back there. But that's free agency, and that's part of being 37 years old sometimes. You can't control what teams are looking for. There were a number of teams that were interested. I think just knowing how the wheels turn in New York with Coach [Brant] Boyer, [Robert] Saleh, and Joe Douglas. The long-snapper continuity there, that's a big deal. Having Greg [Zuerlein] as just a total pro kicker. Justin Hardee is a big part of it [too], we broke records down in New Orleans. That guy's like a brother to me."

Thomas Morstead on his NFL journey

JF: "You've done pretty much all there is to be done in the NFL. What is it that gives you the drive to keep going?"

TM: "The simplest way to boil it down is I just love it. I love everything that goes into it. The training, the hard stuff, being counted on during a game, the camaraderie, the locker room, I still love doing it. In fact, I love it more now than ever. Maybe that's what happens when you start to get closer to the end of your career. I just don't want to have any regrets when I'm done playing. I'm just trying to maximize every opportunity. I think this is a very special opportunity and I'm excited about it."

JF: "Take me back to the moments after the Minneapolis Miracle. What was going through your mind when you went back on the field? Was there any discussion about it, or did you just volunteer yourself?"

TM: "I knew the rule, so I was waiting on the field. At some point, I just realized, 'My team's gone.' So I went inside, and the referees were just leaving the locker room. They said, 'Hey, we need 11 guys.' And two-thirds of the team had towels around their waists. They weren't going back out there. I wasn't trying to do anything to stand out. They needed 11 guys, so I just turned around and went back outside. I know Case Keenum was out there waiting, and he said, 'We're going to take a knee.' I said, 'You better (laughs). I don't play DT normally.' I wasn't trying to do anything different — they just needed 11 guys. I think after that they changed the rule."

Thomas Morstead on his off-field ventures

JF: "You and your wife started the What You Give Will Grow Foundation in 2014. Tell me a little bit about your foundation and what your overall goal is."

TM: "Basically we wanted to be able to have a wide range of things we could do in the Louisiana/Mississippi area. The Saints do a really nice job down here of helping players learn all the different needs that there are down here in this community. It gave us a chance to get our feet wet in a number of different areas. We're actually in the process of closing our foundation down now because of COVID. And then our executive director moved away, and I've been on the road playing from a distance. We still do things locally, but we really just personally do things as opposed to having big fundraisers. Everything has changed since COVID for us. We still really love doing it, and we're still really involved down here. I made a lot of money kicking a ball for a living, so I just felt kind of obligated to do something positive with the platform I've been given. I just wanted to pay some of that forward a little bit."

Thomas Morstead answers fan questions

JF: "Who is your favorite punter of all-time?"

TM: "It's really hard to dial it back to one person. I don't think he's considered an all-time great by pro sports writers or anything, but I'm a big fan of Dustin Colquitt. 15 years all with one team. Just an elite ball striker. Did things the right way on and off the field. Sam Koch is another guy, 16 years with Baltimore. He made changes as his career went on to avoid getting left in the dust. He continued to evolve and grow. Big fan of both of those guys, the careers they had, and how they represent themselves. That's kind of how I want to be thought of when I'm done."

JF: "What would your profession be if you weren't a football player?"

TM: "I was an engineering student in college and I used to tutor calculus, so I think I'd be like a math teacher and football/soccer coach. Really any coach. I think I can learn any sort of technical coaching when it comes to sports. I love instructing kids on the technical nature of the game. I think teaching, mentoring, or coaching is what I'd be doing."

Thomas Morstead answers some get-to-know-you questions

JF: "What are your favorite hobbies outside of football?"

TM: "Honestly, I just try to spend as much time with my kids as I can. They're growing fast. My oldest is turning 9, and she's like halfway to college if you think about it. I just have this gut feeling about the finite nature of time, and I just want to spend as much time with my kids as possible. Specifically for me, I love training, I love being in the gym. That's a lifestyle piece for me, I'll always do it."

JF: "What is your go-to karaoke song?"

TM: "Wow. I feel like whenever you're out late, and you're listening to karaoke, 'Sweet Caroline' comes on, and the whole bar stands up. I'll go with that."

Thomas Mortsead on the NY Jets potentially making the Super Bowl this season

JF: "I appreciate you joining me today, Thomas. You thinking what I'm thinking? You thinking Super Bowl this year?"

TM: "I think that everybody's expectations are very high for this team. I've been on teams that have had those expectations and flopped, and I've been on teams that have had those expectations and done great. I've been on teams that went to the Super Bowl after they were picked to finish fourth in the division. All I know is I'm excited to be here, and if we want to maximize what this team can be, you have to start from ground zero. Offseason starts next week, and if everybody has the right mentality, we'll have a shot to be our very best."

6 players the NY Jets can trade before or during the 2023 NFL Draft. dark. Next