Interview: Thomas Morstead talks Miami Dolphins football

Miami Dolphins punter Thomas Morstead ((Peter McMahon/Miami Dolphins via AP)
Miami Dolphins punter Thomas Morstead ((Peter McMahon/Miami Dolphins via AP) /

Thomas Morstead is entering his 14th NFL season and his first with the Miami Dolphins, he took the time to answer some of our questions.

How Morstead landed in Miami is an interesting one. During an interview with Paul Pickens over at OnTheFinSide, Morstead said that he had his agent call the Dolphins after he realized that the Dolphins were not bringing back Michael Palardy. He told them he was willing to play on the league veteran minimum and that Miami jumped at the chance.

Now, he is looking to prove that 14 NFL seasons isn’t necessarily the end of his career. Morstead calls himself a gym rat and videos he has posted on social media show him working out quite consistently. No matter what position you play, longevity in the NFL is rare and it is a testament to his work ethic.

You have been in the NFL for 14 seasons. What do you see so far with the Dolphins that is
different, good or bad, from the other three teams you have been with, the Saints, Falcons,
and Jets?

"The new facility is the best I’ve seen in NFL. Top-notch in every way. Ownership has given the team every resource needed to be successful. That’s all you can ask for as a player or coach. Being a part of any team that has a first-year head coach is exciting. Having a chance to be a part of building a culture is bigger than me or anyone else."

You have seen a lot during your time in the league, specifically with the Saints. Drew Brees is
a future HOF inductee and the Saints’ offense was impressive. What stands out, if anything, to you so far through OTAs and mini-camps with Miami? Offensively or defensively that you have seen or noticed?

"This may be a disappointing answer, but I’m in my own world for the majority of practice. I don’t sitaround near the water cooler watching the offense and defense do their thing. I typically have a very clear process during any practice as far as what I’m trying to get accomplished. I don’t really focus on much else."

What was it like to play for Sean Payton and do you see any similarities with Mike McDaniel?
What has impressed you about Coach McDaniel so far?

"Obviously, Coach Payton is a Hall of Fame coach and Coach McDaniel is just starting his first year as a head coach. I try not to do too much comparison with players or coaches in this league out ofrespect to everyone."

This is still a relatively young team. Do you find it easier to earn the respect of the other
players given your years and accomplishments in the league or do you still feel it is a starting-
over situation where you have to work to earn that respect?

"I think age and skins on the wall gets players and coaches to take notice. This is a very demanding league and playing in it at a consistently high level is very difficult. I think everyone has to start over every year and build that foundation. Teams don’t just pick up where they left off in the previous year. There are new players and new coaches every single season. You have to go out and earn it every single year."

Thomas Morstead
Thomas Morstead (Peter McMahon/Miami Dolphins via AP) /

You work closely with Jason Sanders. How is that relationship developing so far and how?
You know a thing or two about kicking as well. Do you practice kickoffs alongside him in
practice? If not yet, do you think you will be in training camp?

"Working with Jason and Blake is the reason I have been at OTA‘s all spring. Developing a chemistry and trust with those guys is most important for the season. I do kick here and there to make sure I’m ready to go if the team were to ever need me, but it’s not something I major in anymore."

How has the league changed for players since your rookie season in 2009?

"I think it’s better than it’s ever been. Our salaries are higher, health and safety protocols are better. Our benefits are incredible and consistently growing. Obviously, things can always be better, but I think it’s good to have perspective and realize how good we all have it."

Speaking of rookie seasons… you were put under some incredible pressure by coach Payton
in the Super Bowl. An onside kick, executed by the team’s punter, to start the second half against the Colts. I know it was a long time ago, but I doubt it has left your memory. Can
you walk us through that emotion a little bit?

"It’s one of the best things that ever happened to me professionally. Having that amount of pressure, and the biggest moment, and being able to come through and do my small part to help our team in the Super Bowl, that has given me confidence on the field, and off the field for the rest of my life. It was an extraordinarily stressful situation. The coolest thing about the play was that I think everyone on our sideline knew we were going to win the game after we went and made that play. Awesome to be a part of New Orleans Saints’ history."

You also donated a large amount of money to a children’s hospital in Minnesota following a loss to the Vikings. I know why it was donated and where it came from, but I would love to
hear in your words how that came to happen and how that made you and even your family
feel. That was pretty incredible.

"A Vikings fan on Reddit started persuading other Vikings fans to donate to my foundation because they felt inspired by my showing in the playoff game versus Minnesota in the spring of 2018. Once I realized what was happening, I announced that I would be giving the money back to a hospital in their area and that’s when it exploded. It was definitely a special thing that happened that allowed for some personal healing after a gut-wrenching loss in the playoffs."

What Morstead didn’t say here is that he had been injured in the game. When the Vikings took the lead late, the game was over but the referees brought the players back out for the extra point. Morstead was the first back on the field. It was a testament to his love of the game and his sportsmanship.

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Longevity at any position is rare in the NFL yet here you are – 12 years with the Saints and
another year split with the Falcons and Jets. What is the key to sticking around in the league
this long and hopefully, longer with the Dolphins?

"There are lots of keys. You have to love it, that’s the main thing. Being a 24/7 athlete is a lifestyle. All of the little decisions you make throughout every day are all with the greater goal of being the best player you can be. I would say personal discipline and consistency is huge."

How are you finding South Florida on a personal level? It is more than just the heat we hear so
much about. Did your family join you in Miami yet and if so how are they finding the diversity
of the area?

"We’ve found a place to live this fall and I’m very excited to provide my family with a new experience. The heat here is nothing compared to New Orleans, so I’m loving the ocean breeze every day."

It is interesting to hear that the “heat” isn’t a big deal compared to other cities but then again, the heat in New Orleans is a lot different. We want to thank Thomas Morstead for taking the time out of his off-season to answer some of our questions.

Morstead is already becoming a favorite of the fans in Miami.