Randall Cunningham Makes Move From Quarterback to Chaplain

He's now addressing the spiritual needs of the Las Vegas Raiders

Randall Cunningham
Randall Cunningham in 2016.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Over the course of his time as a quarterback in the NFL, Randall Cunningham established an impressive reputation for his gridiron skills and retired with an lauded (and arguably Hall of Fame-worthy) career’s worth of statistics. Now, he’s back in the game — though his path back is very different from some of his peers who have made the leap to broadcasting or coaching. Instead, Cunningham is now the chaplain for the Las Vegas Raiders.

Writing at The New York Times, Kalyn Kahler explored how Cunnngham’s life after his playing days had ended eludes each comparisons. Kahler writes about how Cunninghm and his wife Felicity settled in Las Vegas — where Cunningham had an outstanding collegiate career — in 2002. In 2004, he was ordained as a pastor.

The idea to bring in Cunningham as the Raiders’ chaplain came about when the team moved to Las Vegas. Raiders coach Jon Gruden — whose time as the Eagles’ offensive coordinator had overlapped with Cunningham’s time playing in Philadelphia — came up with the idea. “That guy warms my heart,” Gruden told the Times.

As Kahler writes, it’s been a strange season for Cunningham to make his debut; rather than being a physical presence for the Raiders, he’s interacted with the team via phone calls and texts. And while he’s focused on the spiritual, his experience as a player does offer a unique perspective on his new role. It’s an unexpected career shift for an NFL great, but it’s one that seems to be working out well for both Cunningham and the Raiders.

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