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Thomas Morstead was drafted in the 5th round of the 2009 NFL Draft, #164 overall, by the New Orleans Saints. Thomas is currently the starting punter for the Saints.
Thomas took over place-kicking and punting chores in 2006 at SMU, earning All-Conference USA third-team honors. He led the league and ranked 15th in the nation in punting, averaging 43.82 yards on 50 attempts, the best average by an SMU punter since Craig James averaged 44.9 yards in 1982. He made 13 of 18 field goals and 34 of 35 extra points for a total of 73 points, as he also recorded one solo tackle.
As a sophomore Thomas was a consensus All-Conference USA first-team pick and also gained league academic honors. He again led C-USA and finished eighth nationally with a 44.65-yard average, as the Mustangs also ranked fourth in the NCAA with a 39.33-yard net average. He scored 82 points and set the league single-season record by making all 43 PAT attempts, as he also connected on 13 of 20 field goals. Thomas concentrated more on directional punting in 2008. The All-Conference USA honorable mention averaged a career-low 41.78 yards on 59 punts, but only 19 were returned, as the Mustangs placed third in the league with a 37.22-yard net average. He made 11 of 15 field goals, 29 of 30 extra points and amassed 62 points.
Thomas was drafted in the 5th round of the 2009 NFL Draft, #164 overall, by the New Orleans Saints. He was the second punter chosen in 2009, after Kevin Huber (by the Cincinnati Bengals).
Thomas beat out Glenn Pakulak for the Saints’ punting job in 2009. He played a critical role in the Saints’ victory over the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. Thomas executed an onside kick during the second half kickoff. The Saints recovered the ball and were able to convert that possession into a touchdown and a 13-10 lead. The Saints would eventually win the game 31-17. After the game, he stated that while he was excited about executing the play, he was also terrified knowing that if the play was not executed perfectly, the Colts would have likely recovered the ball with a shot of extending their 10-6 lead.He currently holds the record for most touchbacks in one game (9 in a 62-7 defeat of the Colts on October 23, 2011) and the record for the most touchbacks in a single season (68 in 2011).
In July 2012 the Saints signed Thomas to a six-year extension stated to be worth $21.9 million, making him the second highest paid punter in the league (after Shane Lechler of Oakland). He went on to have an outstanding season, leading the league (with a record-setting pace through 15 games) in net punting yardage, and was elected to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career.
Follow Thomas Morstead on Twitter: @thomasmorstead