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Transcript: New Orleans Saints punter Thomas Morstead training camp interview - Wednesday, Sept. 2

Morstead spoke with media on unique circumstances of the 2020 season at Saints Training Camp 2020

Saints Punter Thomas Morstead
Video Call With New Orleans Media
Thursday, September 2, 2020

So it has been a while I guess since you've had a rookie punter alongside you. What has that been like, in kind of teaching him the ropes, especially during such a weird preseason?
"Well, look, I think, you know, I made a commitment to myself a long time ago that, you know, at some point in my career, they'll start bringing in young guys to come compete and push me. And I made a commitment to myself that I would mentor them just like I had been mentored when I was a younger player, even while I'm competing with them. And so it's been a joy. It's definitely pushed me, Blake's (Gillikin) a very talented, talented young player. And he's got a bright future. And I think and hope that he's had a good experience, training alongside me and competing with me. I've tried to give him help and information and experiences that I've learned from. Because people did that for me when I was a young player. And so it's a little bit of a trick bag when you're competing with somebody to do that, but it's just kind of the way I always promised myself I would do it when I was in this situation, so it's been good."

We asked Wil (Lutz) about about this, but I'm curious if it's at all different for you kicking in an empty stadium without fans in there. Have you thought about that, does that change anything for you at all?
"We've thought about it. Tried to maybe, foresee circumstances that could be different or, if you can really hear individuals on the other sideline, we can't just the big gray noise or, you know, varying levels of volume. But it's, you can't kind of pick out individual things that are being said. So that could change. I'll be interested to see how specialists around the league handle that. But, at the end of the day, whether there's fans or not, the fields the same, I don't foresee it being much different, as far as my process goes. The energy in there will be different for sure. And we'll miss that. But, I don't see my process being any different."

I just want to know if (Wil) Lutz actually missed those two field goals at practice today because there was some discussion on the sidelines as to whether the officials were incorrect in saying they were a miss. I don't know if you were paying attention.
"Yeah, I'll let Wil (Lutz) comment on that. All I do is catch the ball and I put it on the spot. I don't even watch to see if it goes in, so."

We were talking about that on the sideline for a little bit. One person had the perspective that he thought he made all four and the other one being me, thought the officials were correct. But you know, when that's your biggest discussion, probably had a pretty good practice, you know?
"Yeah, Coach threw a wrench in there today. We had our backup snapper in there. Throwing some heat. Josh Hill, did a good job for us. So that was good."

Have you always took such good care of your body, I mean, has this been like, kind of a thing that you transformed throughout the course of your career to kind of like in your career is just always been like a priority for you?
"I think there's two ways to answer that. I would say it's always been a priority. And there's not some sort of Mecca that you arrive at where you've like, figured it out, right. So it's kind of a constant journey of trying to find little edges that you can do to improve you know, your body changes over time, and you have to focus on different things. So you're always trying to find the most efficient path towards getting yourself geared up to play on a Sunday. So, I would say it's always been a priority. And it's continued to change over time. The process changes the way I train, when eating. Some years you're dealing with a little nagging thing, and that may change your routine. So at the end of the day, I think it's all about having a beginner's mentality. And you know, always trying to unearth the next thing that can help you get a better edge. Whether it's with recovery, nutrition, I mean, all of it, all of it dials to being ready to play on a Sunday for three hours. So, hopefully that answers your question."

But do you think doing that and making sure you are always dialed in like that has an impact on like, your longevity? You think? I mean, you still probably got some years ahead of you.
"Well, thanks, I appreciate it. I think all of it adds up. It is no different than if you have bad sleep or bad diet for an extended period of time. Some of that stuff's irrecoverable. Right so, even if you like, turn things around and start doing great you like, you've taken more tread off the tires. And that tread doesn't just magically appear back on. So I think the answer is yes that it helps with longevity and I think being locked in, all that stuff is you know, there's always a young calf that's coming in with a big leg every year. And so I think it helps with the longevity of just being locked in and being as consistent and steady as possible, day in and day out."

Would you say you and the guys on the team have generally been okay and satisfied with all the protocols and does it get to a point where you have almost gotten used to it at this point, and it is not that big of a deal? How would you describe, sort of where you guys stand now? And most importantly, are you guys okay with everything as it stands?
"Well, I can't answer for all my teammates. All I can say is that I think we're testing (consistently) leaguewide. We've had really few guys get it. So that's good. I would say that everybody had the opportunity to opt out and not play. So if guys weren't okay with it and are playing that's, I don't know what to say other than they, everyone had a decision to make to do that. You know, I personally think the protocols that are in place are more than enough. You know, I think, you know, some of the things I won't get into specifics, so don't ask me. But I think some of it's a little bit of optics, to show that we are all intending to do the right thing as best we can. But I also think they have done a great job of trying to minimize every sort of, you know, all the micro contacts, you are not going to mitigate everything but in every area that you can, they tried to do their best to mitigate. And so I am personally happy with the protocols that are in place. And I think you are seeing the results of that so far. At the end of the day, we are depending on personal behavior and personal responsibility to, you know, everybody's got skin in the game. No one wants to be the guy that brings Coronavirus into the locker room and gets a player or maybe an older coach or an older staff person sick. And so, I think everybody's so far showing that we're able to handle that personal responsibility. And I just really hope that players and coaches and staff and everybody in the building continues to be as diligent with all those protocols as possible and to not relax because the goal is to, you know, have the season go all the way to the Super Bowl."

But as a player rep, you haven't heard complaints from any players, would that be correct to say?
"There's never been one thing that we've passed as a union that has had no players gripe about, so. No, I would say that's never 100%. There's always players, I mean, there's 2000 of us. So there's always pieces to it that players do not like or are not happy with or feel like it could be done a better way. So I do not know if that answers your question."

I think your parents have attended all of your games since back at SMU. What are they going to do this season or how are you guys navigating that?
"Well, they have missed five games in my career. But I am not counting or anything. And they are actually out of the country, because my mom got a really awesome job opportunity. And so, they'll be missing many of the games regardless of COVID. So I'm going to have to make it up, we're going to have to have my wife make the brownies every week (that his mother made and gave to him for teammate distribution), because the team's depending on it."

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