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Thomas Morstead’s played several games where he’s felt under the weather.
He had a stomach bug that kept him out of a practice in Week 4 ahead of the Dallas Cowboys, and then battled what he called a “respiratory” issue for a brief while after that.
Playing in those two games don’t compare to the worst he’s felt.
During a preseason game in 2017, Morstead was throwing up on the sidelines because of an illness. He played through it, punting the ball eight times against the Houston Texans for an average of 45.4 yards per attempt. Two punts landed inside the 20.
“It sucks,” Morstead said of playing sick. “Your job is to get your body primed to be ready to play game time and you have a fever, and you’re dehydrated. When you’re dehydrated, you risk injury because of that dehydration, and also, it can set you back for weeks, because you kind of get behind the eight ball and you can’t catch up because you’re always depleting yourself. It’s just a really hard thing to deal with.”
Morstead’s far from the only NFL player who’s played while sick, either this season or in their careers.
Sitting out because of an illness is a rarity. Most players, because of the sport’s nature, do their best to suffer through it.
One notable illness absence was when New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold missed three weeks with mononucleosis earlier this year. According to ESPN, Darnold was one only two quarterbacks have been known to have mono during the season, joining former Oilers signal-caller Chris Chandler in 1995.
Additionally, the New England Patriots took two separate planes to Houston for their Week 13 game against the Texans after an illness swept through the locker room. Ten players showed up on the injury report with the flu. Only one of them was declared out before the game.
As for New Orleans players, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was under the weather during the preseason game against the Chargers. And several Saints, including tackle Terron Armstead, played while battling the flu against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 10. All of them played.
“The situation with being sick is a lot different than an injury or something that’s bothering you,” Armstead said.
When Armstead had the flu, he said he was out for the three practice days the Saints had. He said he didn’t see his teammates until Sunday morning.
He’d lost some weight, lost some sleep, and couldn’t prepare in the manner in which he’s used to.
During his 7-year NFL career, Armstead’s played in several games while feeling less than 100%. One game, he doesn’t remember the opponent, he had an upset stomach.