Randall Cunningham isn’t quite sure how word got out, but he’s honored he will receive such a special recognition.
The former UNLV and NFL quarterback will be presented with the NFL Alumni Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award for community service on Saturday in Indianapolis, site of Sunday’s Super Bowl.
Cunningham played in the NFL for 16 seasons, most notably with the Philadelphia Eagles from 1985 to 1995.
“They acknowledged what you’re supposed to do,” Cunningham said Wednesday before flying out of Las Vegas. “It’s funny, because everything I do is behind the scenes. I didn’t tell anybody what I was doing.”
Cunningham, who turns 49 in March, is the pastor at Las Vegas-based Remnant Ministries and a youth coach, including helping with Bishop Gorman High School’s track team.
He hopes to move his church from its current 17,500-square-foot building into an 80,000-square-foot facility in the next six months. That building, Cunningham said, will include a basketball gym, athletic and workout facilities, three sanctuaries for youth, a wedding chapel and a full kitchen.
When he quarterbacked the Eagles, Cunningham financially backed the construction of a 15,000-square-foot youth facility for a church in Camden, N.J. It included a basketball gym and classrooms.
“It helped the community,” he said, noting it gave kids a place to go when they had down time. “There’s a little less crime in that community.”
Cunningham had his best year in 1998 with the Minnesota Vikings, leading them to a 15-1 regular-season mark as the team advanced to the NFC Championship Game. He also played for the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens. He retired following the 2001 season, finishing with 29,979 career passing yards and 207 touchdowns. He also rushed for 4,928 yards and 35 TDs.
He was the Pro Football Writers of America Most Valuable Player in 1990 after passing for 3,466 yards and 30 touchdowns.
His career at UNLV is unmatched. Cunningham still owns the Rebels’ career passing record, throwing for 8,020 yards and a school-best 59 touchdowns from 1982 to 1984.
He also remains the school’s all-time leading punter, averaging 45.6 yards.
Now that he’s in Indianapolis, Cunningham has a rooting interest this weekend, even though he didn’t play for the New England Patriots or New York Giants.
“My brother played for the Patriots,” Cunningham said. Sam Cunningham was a running back for New England from 1973 to 1982.
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at email@example.com or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65.