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Long snapper Zach Wood will remain a New Orleans Saint

'I want all those guys to be able to trust me to do my job so they can do theirs'


The celebration that we see pretty much is standard.

New Orleans Saints punter Thomas Morstead takes the snap, places it down, turns his head and watches as Wil Lutz kicks the game-winning field goal through the uprights, and the two embrace while teammates celebrate.

"I get my time afterward," long snapper Zach Wood said. "I'm kind of head between my legs, and then I look up and watch that thing go in. It's special, but I get my celebration afterward. That's just how it is, I guess."

Not the last couple of days. Instead, Morstead and Lutz – and other Saints teammates – have celebrated with and for Wood, a former undrafted rookie who has agreed to terms on a four-year deal that will keep him in New Orleans.

"Couldn't be in a better place," Wood said Tuesday. "Obviously, we've done well with special teams and that's all credit to Thomas and Wil. The guys on the punt team and the guys on the field goal team have made my job easier, so I'm really pumped to be there.

"We've worked really hard in group, me and Tom and Wil. I think that's paid off and I'm just grateful to be able to keep having these guys' trust in me. Every day we go out there and we really put a lot of effort into this operation. That just shows on gameday. I want to be able to let Tom and the coaches and Wil – I want all of those guys to be able to trust me to do my job so they can do theirs. So I'm just grateful for the opportunity and real grateful to (Coach) Sean (Payton) and (General Manager) Mickey (Loomis) and all of them for giving me some more chances."

Wood completed his third season in New Orleans in 2019. He went to training camp in '16 with Dallas, and signed with the Saints in '17. He has handled all of New Orleans' long-snapping duties since and now, he's expected to be doing so for the foreseeable future.

"This is what I've been working so hard for, just to be able to get to this place," said Wood, who played collegiately at Southern Methodist, starting 33 of 43 games at defensive end.

"First you get into the league, then being able to stay that first three years and work your butt off and earn that next contract and earn the trust of everyone around you. It's really good to see that happening. It's been a dream come true. I couldn't be with a better place, the Saints are amazing and the fans are awesome. I really cannot choose a better team."

Head down, he will continue to move forward with hopes of helping the Saints maintain their lofty special teams status.

"As a lot of people know, special teams are kind of their own group," he said. "We have practice where everybody is involved besides (Wood, Morstead and Lutz), so during that time, we're spending countless hours and countless reps just getting the operation down to perfection, just so we can repeat it every time. We try to treat every snap the same, from a game-winning field goal to just a practice rep. That makes a huge difference on those game days. I think that's been paying off for us.

"What I think is real special about this group is that Tom, Wil and I are really good friends. We get along really well. We complement each other and I think that's super important when we want to have good chemistry and have success on the field."

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