Thomas Morstead never dreamed about playing in the NFL when he was a child growing up in Pearland, Texas. "It would have been a silly dream to have," the veteran New Orleans Saints punter said in a video conference call Tuesday, May 26, with New Orleans media members.
He also never thought he'd be featured in a children's book but that's happened now with the release of "The Middle School Rules of Thomas Morstead," written by Sean Jensen. The book - the latest in the "Middle School Rules" series from the Minneapolis-based Jensen - chronicles Morstead's life from birth to high school and details all the adversity he faced along the way.
Morstead, now a 6-foot-4, 235-pounder about to start his 12th NFL season was picked on for his looks, how he dressed and was cut from his high school soccer team, a sport that was his passion. "Soccer was my whole life," Morstead said Tuesday. "It's the only reason that I went out for football my senior season."
That fateful decision by his high school's soccer coach led him to walk on the Southern Methodist University football team, be drafted by the Saints in the fifth round in 2009, win a Super Bowl title with the team his rookie year and be one of only two members from that team still on the Saints roster (quarterback Drew Breesis the other).
"Everybody has a unique story, unique backgrounds," Morstead said.
The book, geared to students in grades 2-6, is a quick and informative read. You learn about Morstead's parents, his father's dedication to cycling, how Thomas met his wife Lauren, all while learning lessons about life.
"I'm very proud of this book," Morstead said.
It came about after Jensen interviewed Morstead about his actions at the end of the Saints' heart-breaking loss to the Minnesota Vikings in the playoffs following the 2017 season. After the Vikings scored on the final play of the game, the Saints left the field. In order for the game to be official, the extra-point try had to be attempted. Morstead, who suffered a serious injury in the game, was one of the first Saints players to run back onto the field. Minnesotans found out about Morstead's foundation - What You Give Will Grow - and donated a lot of money, which Morstead funneled back into the Minneapolis community.
Morstead and Jensen were supposed to have a 15-minute interview and it lasted 45. "Sometimes you just have an energy with somebody," Morstead said.
When Jensen suggested to Morstead that he should be featured in his next "Middle School Rules" book, Morstead joked: "Are you actually trying to sell books? I'm a punter in a small market."
But Jensen persisted and now everyone can read about the formative years of Morstead, a longtime Saints fan favorite who has raised millions to help sick children through What You Give Will Grow.
Morstead said when the first box of books was delivered to his home he read the book to his four children in one sitting. "It's been really cool sharing it with them," he said.
You can place advance orders for the book here and it should ship next week.
New Orleans Saints punter Thomas Morstead grew up in Pearland, Texas. This photo essay includes photos of his family, his hometown and his high school.
Photos by Aaron Sprecher