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Randall Cunningham Retires From Football

August 30, 1996

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Thanking everyone from owners to trainers while trying not to take parting shots at his critics, quarterback Randall Cunningham retired from football on Friday after 11 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Unceremoniously released by the Eagles following last season, Cunningham, 33, said he made his decision after the only team he wanted to play for _ the St. Louis Rams _ didn’t sign him.

He said he did get feelers, including a one-year, $700,000 offer, but decided against it.

``In my heart, I wanted to retire after my 12th season,″ Cunningham said. ``As the situation with the Rams passed by and I started to spend some time with my family, my heart changed.″

He recently signed a contract as a studio analyst with TNT and runs a marble-and-granite business in his hometown of Las Vegas.

``I’m very, very content with my life,″ he said. ``I loved the game and while I loved the game I stayed in. But when I lost the love, I got out.″

Early in his career, Cunningham’s athleticism and creative plays made him one of the NFL’s stars. But he faded after a series of injuries and lost his starting job to Rodney Peete last year because of poor performance.

His fall was speeded by talk he was a pouter, obsessed with undermining his backups, and had lost the confidence and respect of teammates and coaches.

Cunningham also angered Eagles coach Ray Rhodes when he insisted on being with his wife in Las Vegas for the birth of their son while the team was preparing for last year’s playoff game against the Cowboys.

Cunningham said he did what he felt was right.

``I think the NFL is changing a little bit,″ he said. ``If you can’t support your wife, there’s something wrong.″

Cunningham singled out former Eagles coach Buddy Ryan for being ``truly a player’s coach,″ and also said he was grateful to Rich Kotite _ even though they disliked each other.

``So we didn’t get along. Big deal. You gave me the best season of my career in 1990,″ Cunningham said. ``It’s just too bad we didn’t go all the way (to the Super Bowl). We could have been good friends.″

Cunningham had some choice, but carefully chosen words for Philadelphia, its fans and especially its sports radio personalities.

``I have no bitter feelings toward Philadelphia,″ he said. ``Thank you for all the good times. Thank you for wearing No. 12 with pride.″

Cunningham, a second-round draft choice in 1985 out of Nevada-Las Vegas, was a three-time Pro Bowler who finished with the NFL rushing record for quarterbacks with 4,482 yards on 677 carries. He also completed 1,874 of 3,362 passes (55.7 percent) for 22,877 yards, 150 touchdowns and 105 interceptions.

Greg Hughes, a spokesman for TNT, said Cunningham will make his debut as an analyst on Sunday’s game between the Buffalo Bills and New York Giants on TNT’s ``Pro Football Tonight.″

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