Even the most ardent supporters of the NFL have to admit that the news cycle surrounding the league can be polarizing at the very least, if not downright depressing.
Given all of that, being able to report on a bit of hopefulness or good news when it comes to America’s eminent professional sports league is like a breath of fresh air.
And it doesn’t get much more hopeful or good than when Jesus Christ and faith enter the fray, particularly at a time when Christianity seems to be under absurd scrutiny.
Former NFL MVP and First-Team All-Pro Randall Cunningham is back in the NFL, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Obviously, the 57-year-old former quarterback isn’t playing, but he has taken up arguably an even more important role — team chaplain.
The four-time Pro Bowler told ESPN that he has accepted a position as team chaplain with the newly minted Las Vegas Raiders, and his excitement seemed palpable.
“I’m elated, flabbergasted,” Cunningham said Friday. “I’ve already been in on some [Zoom] meetings with the team. I plan on spending a lot of time with the guys when it’s OK. I’ve talked with [quarterback] Marcus Mariota, [wide receiver] Nelson Agholor. What an amazing group of people [team owner] Mark Davis and [head coach] Jon Gruden have put together.”
Although Cunningham is best known for his time as the quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings, as well as his short stints with the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens, his ties to Las Vegas actually run fairly deep.
The retired quarterback played three seasons — from 1982 to 1984 — for the UNLV Rebels, increasing his completion percentage and number of passing touchdowns each season. Cunningham, who is widely considered the best football player to don the school’s jersey, even punted for the team.
Cunningham’s collegiate exploits garnered him College Football Hall of Fame honors in 2016.
But it’s not just his football accomplishments that tie him deeply to Las Vegas.
Cunningham eventually made Las Vegas his permanent residence late in his NFL career and even established his own church, Remnant Ministries, there.
Remnant Ministries’ statement of faith makes its beliefs clear: [T]here is one living and true GOD, eternally existing in three persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, equal in power and glory; that this triune God created all, upholds all and governs all.”
It’s Cunningham’s bedrock of faith that had Davis describing him as “pretty special.”
“He’s going to take care of the guys in Las Vegas,” Davis told ESPN. “Jon had him address the team in a team Zoom [recently] and he did a really good job of setting the stage for the team in Las Vegas.
“When you talk to anyone in the community, everybody always talks about Randall. It’s pretty special.”
According to Cunningham, Gruden personally asked him to take on team chaplain responsibilities.
“Gruden asked me to be the team chaplain,” Cunningham said. “I have a responsibility to look after these guys in this town. And I accept that responsibility.”
Cunningham is far from the only legendary NFL figure who proudly espouses his faith.
Hall of Fame former NFL coach Tony Dungy recently had to set the record straight after CNN’s Don Lemon contended that Jesus did not live a perfect life.
I’m sorry Mr Lemon but just who “admitted” that Jesus Christ was not perfect here on earth? Not anyone who believes the Bible. Not anyone who trusts in Jesus as their savior. I’m not sure the point you’re making but your premise is dead wrong. That was the point in Jesus coming! https://t.co/KXUS9Z0GLA
— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) July 9, 2020
Whether it’s Dungy or Cunningham, it’s good to know that even amid controversy, faith can still be prevalent in the NFL.
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