We see that you have javascript disabled. Please enable javascript and refresh the page to continue reading local news. If you feel you have received this message in error, please contact the customer support team at 1-833-248-7801.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Ex-Vikings star Randall Cunningham on why he resigned as Raiders’ chaplain

New leadership in Las Vegas never returned the calls of the former All-Pro quarterback

RandallCunningham_Nov2021.jpg
Former Minnesota Vikings quarterback, Randall Cunningham, shown in a church Feb. 21, 2021. Cunningham is a former UNLV star and pastor at Remnant Ministries in Las Vegas.
Chris Tomasson / St. Paul Pioneer Press
We are part of The Trust Project.

When former star quarterback Randall Cunningham resigned last month as the Las Vegas Raiders’ team chaplain, he didn’t give much of a reason. He has now.

Cunningham, who played for the Minnesota Vikings from 1997-99, said in a phone interview this week that he stepped down July 20 because he no longer felt wanted by the Raiders under new head coach Josh McDaniels. Cunningham was hired in 2020 by former coach Jon Gruden, who resigned last October after old emails he wrote including racist and homophobic slurs surfaced as part of the NFL’s investigation into the workplace culture of the Washington Commanders.

“I kept calling and calling and calling, trying to contact the right officials to get the OK on what the direction was with Coach McDaniels, but it just went by, and finally I said, ‘I don’t think I’m needed here anymore,’ ” said Cunningham, a former UNLV star and pastor at Remnant Ministries, the Las Vegas church he opened in 2006.

Cunningham said he tried to reach out to Raiders owner Mark Davis after McDaniels was hired Jan. 31 but didn’t hear anything. He said he left about three messages for McDaniels after he was hired and did finally get a text from him about two months later.

“He texted me one time and he said, ‘I’m looking forward to you and your involvement here. And I said, ‘Feel free to call anytime.’ And I never received a call back,” Cunningham said. “And I just figured that was kind of like a sign for me it is time for me to move on.”

ADVERTISEMENT

When Cunningham played for the Vikings, he said team chaplain was Keith Johnson. He was very close to the players and he had hoped to establish a similar structure with the Raiders. He said that wasn’t initially possible the last two seasons when he only could do Zoom calls with players due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The players really need someone who is going to be like a brother, a father figure — someone they can lean on and talk to outside of the organization — and that’s what we had in Minnesota,” Cunningham said.

The Raiders did not immediately return a message asking about Cunningham’s departure.

Cunningham played in the NFL from 1985-95 with Philadelphia and from 1997-2001 with the Vikings, Dallas and Baltimore. He made three Pro Bowls with the Eagles and one with Minnesota in 1998, when he also was first-team All-Pro for the only time in his career.

The Vikings open the preseason Sunday at Las Vegas, but Cunningham will not attend the game.

Cunningham was hired by Gruden, who once was his offensive coordinator in Philadelphia. He told the Pioneer Press last November that he never has considered Gruden, who used to attend his church regularly, a racist and reiterated that this week.

______________________________________________________

This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

Related Topics: MINNESOTA VIKINGSFOOTBALL
What to read next
Pro
Kirill Kaprizov didn't finish the game, leaving early out of precaution after a shot from teammate Frederick Gaudreau grazed his foot.
Pro
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound receiver out of LSU will be the focus of most, if not all opposing defenses for the rest of the season. He’s just that good. With Jefferson taken out of the offense, Adam Thielen (six catches, 61 yards and a touchdown) and Osborn (5-73-1) got the lion’s share of Cousins’ targets, which was enough to beat the Lions on Sunday.
Pro
It wasn’t always pretty, but it was a good win. An important win, particularly for a team still finding its legs. There’s a big difference between 2-1 and 1-2.
Pro
Larnach, 25, played five rehab games for the Saints, the last coming on Sept. 21, before he was shut down. He was in the Twins’ clubhouse on Sunday morning, though not because an activation is near, manager Rocco Baldelli said.