Braden Mann and Thomas Morestead met long before their shared tenure in Florham Park
Morestead has taken over the New York Jets‘ punting duties while sophomore leg Mann recovers from a knee injury sustained in the early stages of Week 1’s kickoff contest in Charlotte. Mann returned to practice this week, officially starting the clock on Morestead’s Jets tenure.
Before he apparently leaves, however, the Super Bowl champion helped Mann recreate a childhood memory.
Practice at Florham Park didn’t stage the first meeting between the punters. A decade prior, it was Morestead who gave Mann his first punting lesson at a Kohl’s Professional Camp, setting the latter on a path toward the Ray Guy Award and hearing his name called at the 2020 NFL draft.
The Jets shared a photo of the pair on their social accounts on Friday, along with a recreated version on the practice field on One Jets Drive.
You gotta love @thomasmorstead.
He found this picture of when he gave @MannBraden his first punt lesson when Braden was in 7th grade.
10 years later, they're teammates. pic.twitter.com/gbDIvdxBFa
— New York Jets (@nyjets) October 29, 2021
On a bittersweet note, Morestead appeared to hint at his impending departure in a follow-up tweet, mentioning that “it’s been an honor to fill in” while claiming that Mann “has a bright future ahead.”
It’s been an honor to fill in. Young buck has a bright future! https://t.co/lbTPzkfW0L
— Thomas Morstead (@thomasmorstead) October 29, 2021
Fans and observers unanimously bestowed praise upon the photo and the recreation, many seeing it as an occasion to feel romantic about football.
Mann shared his appreciation for Morstead’s mentorship during his time with the Jets.
Couldn’t have asked for a better teammate or mentor for the last 7 weeks. As always, you’ve been an absolute class act @thomasmorstead. It’s been a pleasure to watch and learn from the best for the last decade https://t.co/oOgeoT4m5Y
— Braden Mann (@MannBraden) October 29, 2021
In five games subbing for Mann, Morestead, who previously spent 12 years with New Orleans, averaged 47.7 yards on 19 attempts, six of which landed inside the opponent’s 20. That average stands as his best posting since 2016.
Mann will look to build off of an impressive preseason in which he averaged 47.1 yards per punt with seven of his 12 kicks landing inside of the opponent’s 20.
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The Jets (1-5) return to action on Sunday afternoon against the AFC North-leading Cincinnati Bengals (1 p.m. ET, CBS).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags