Most punters are an afterthought to fans, most of whom would rather not even see their punter. Out of sight, out of mind.
But it’s not that way with Saints fans and Thomas Morstead.
Morstead loves New Orleans, and New Orleans loves Morstead. The Texas native now calls New Orleans home.
“To give you a single statement to tell you what this city means to Thomas, as well as what Thomas means to this city: When people ask me about Thomas I say, ‘In this city, it’s Drew Brees, then Thomas Morstead,’” Saints kicker Wil Lutz said, via Herbie Teope of the Times-Picayune. “He is that involved.”
Part of it is Morstead’s contributions to the Saints over his 10, going on 11, NFL seasons. His career average of 49.6 yards per punt ranks third in NFL history, and his onside kick at the start of Super Bowl XLIV propelled the Saints to their first championship.
But the other part is Morstead’s off-field contributions.
Morstead arrived in 2009, and he and his wife, Lauren, began their foundation in 2014. The “What You Give Will Grow” foundation has donated more than $2.5 million to a variety of causes and programs, according to the organization’s official website, via Teope.
“You almost feel obligated to give back in really the best way you possibly can because people in New Orleans, they’ll give the shirt off their back,” Morstead said. “I mean, they will do anything for you, and that type of support when you’re making the money I’m making doing the job that you couldn’t have imagined ever having, you just feel like, hey, you better pay it forward.
“You better help out the people that support you, so that’s the big thing for me. When people make a donation to our charity, our foundation, there’s a pressure to make sure you put that dollar to good use, and I just don’t take that lightly.”