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What Do the Jets Mean to P Thomas Morstead? 'That Would Be Hard' to Put Into Words

Fifteen-Year Veteran Set Franchise Records and Led NFL in Many Punting Categories in 2023 Season


After an 11-punt performance against the Giants in Week 8 that included three downed inside the 4-yard line, P Thomas Morstead choked up when asked what the Jets mean to him. He was asked the same questions after one of the best seasons by a punter in team history, Morstead couldn't find the proper words in response.

"That would be hard to do," he said. "I've really appreciated my time here. I know that the expectations and the results didn't line up with what we hoped would be this season, but it's been a great experience for me. From coaches, teammates, everybody in the building and the organization, the fans, it's been a great season. Personally, I've just felt loved and appreciated and respected. I can't ask for more."

Morstead, who will turn 38 in March, had a busy season. He led the league with 99 punts and 4,831 yards, which are both franchise records. He also set the team record for highest gross (48.8) and net (41.8) average.

More importantly, Morstead was effective. And pinpoint.

His 54 punts of 50-plus yards led the NFL as did his 7 inside-the-5 punts. His 36 inside-the-20s were second to Patriots rookie Bryce Baringer's 38. Morstead's inside the 5 were the most by a Jets punter since Tom Tupa's 10 in 1999 and the inside the 20s are second in franchise history behind Steve Weatherford's then-NFL-record 42 in 2010.

"My body feels great," Morstead said. "Every time people ask it's always with the insinuation of like, do you still want to play? Do you think you still can? That's not a question.

"The goals that I've set for myself career-wise are going to require me to play for at least another six years. I'm not saying I'll be able to accomplish that. I don't know. But I think I played at a Pro-Bowl level this season and I have been doing that throughout my entire career."

Take a look through some of the best photos throughout the Jets 2023 season.

Morstead, named a first alternate for the Pro Bowl in his 15th season, embraces being a father figure on a young Jets team. It's a role he views as a rite of passage.

As a rookie for the Saints in 2009, he walked into a special teams room that included K John Carney, the NFL's No. 5 career scorer, and LS Jason Kyle, who combined for 40 seasons of experience at the time. After two seasons with them, Morstead's new kicker was John Kasay, the NFL's No. 9 career scorer, in his 21st and final season.

"I had like 60 years of experience from guys that had been there, done it, seen it all," Morstead said. "That's one of the reasons my learning curve was so fast. You obviously get paid to perform and do well on the field, but I view one of the reasons that I still get to do this job as it's not just about playing well, it's about pouring into players on the team and helping that learning curve be quick.

He added: "I remember being that young and dumb kid that was just had a dream of playing football in the league and there's so much more to it."

After 24 games punting for the Green & White (7 in '21, 17 in 2023) Morstead would welcome the opportunity to continue his career with the Jets.

"I'd love to be back," he said. "You never know how things go. You never know what opportunities lay around the corner, so I don't know what will happen. I didn't think I'd leave here two years ago and I got released. That's the business side of things. All I can say is I've appreciated being here, my family's love being here and we would be excited about coming back, so we'll see what happens. But I will be playing football next year 100 percent."

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