March 4 (UPI) -- The New Orleans Saints released longtime punter Thomas Morstead on Thursday, the team announced.
Morstead spent the past 12 seasons in New Orleans. He ranks among the top punters in NFL history in yards per punt (46.5) and net average (41.7).
"Thomas has been a very important part of the New Orleans Saints organization and our community since 2009," Saints head coach Sean Payton said in a statement. "It has been an honor to have coached him and to have witnessed his growth as a player and a person.
"He has been a great leader and mentor to many younger players throughout his career, and his Pro Bowl level of play year-in and year-out has been remarkable. I know that Thomas will be highly successful in the future and am grateful to have had the opportunity to coach him."
Morstead, a Pro Bowl selection in 2012, was responsible for one of the most iconic moments in franchise history. During Super Bowl XLIV in 2010, Morstead -- who was a rookie at the time -- executed the Saints' surprise onside kick against the Indianapolis Colts.
The Saints recovered the onside kick and went on to beat the Colts 31-17 for the franchise's first Super Bowl championship.
New Orleans selected Morstead in the fifth round of the 2009 draft out of Southern Methodist University. In 190 career games, he has punted 692 times for 32,190 yards.
The 34-year-old Morstead, who said he intends to keep playing, was scheduled to earn $3.5 million in salary and bonuses in 2021. According to Spotrac, he will still count $2 million in dead money against the salary cap.