Miami Dolphins gambler spends a night on the streets of New Orleans

MIAMI GARDENS – On the streets of New Orleans, not far from the French Quarter on an almost freezing night, lay a man on a seven-figure salary as an NFL player. He had a cardboard box, a sleeping bag, and a small section of dock.

And the determination he’ll need.

Only a few days ago gambler Thomas Morstead listened as his coach warned of the dangers of a night on the town.

This was not the kind of night the coach had in mind. Just as this is not the kind of life anyone has in mind.

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Dolphins quarterback Thomas Morstead prepares to sleep outside for the Covenant House benefit in New Orleans.  He is joined by Maxwell's sons, Beckett, and his wife, Lorraine.

By Monday afternoon, Morstead was back in familiar, warm surroundings, sitting in his booth in the Dolphins’ locker room and sharing what he took from a night he won’t forget. And Laila hopes his family will not be forgotten. Not only was his wife Lorraine joining him, but also sons Maxwell, 8, and Beckett, 7.

This was something Thomas began planning when the dolphins schedule came out and Farewell Week coincided with the annual sleepover held by the Covenant House in New Orleans, as homelessness is rampant in the area. The volunteers spent a night as a homeless person would—”voluntary suffering,” Morstead called it—with two exceptions. They had police protection. They can go home in the morning.

Although the event was a fundraiser and the Morsteads wrote a five-figure check for the no-prizes, Thomas sees what he and his family came up with as making them richer.

“It was exactly what we hoped it would be,” Morstead said.

It was all that could be under controlled conditions.

“I don’t think I would really appreciate it because I didn’t feel unsafe there,” he said. “And you know, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. You’re only there for one night. A lot of people who are out there, they don’t know when they won’t be there.”

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