View Full Version : AP: Gun going back to Nashville

12-07-2004, 06:20 PM
Chiefs Aide Says Titans Revived His Career

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Gunther Cunningham is proof that time, and a healthy lack of ego, can heal any pain.

Cunningham first came to coach in Tennessee bitter and upset over being fired as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. He returns on Monday night to coach against the Titans as defensive coordinator of the Chiefs, and he said Tuesday it will be especially emotional for him.

"I tell you, it took me 10 hours to say goodbye to the support people in that facility when I went back. You just can't imagine, when you get to be my age and you feel like your whole life has fallen apart professionally, and you meet people like I met down there," he said.

"And that starts with the head coach."

http://hosted.ap.org/icons/spacer.gifhttp://hosted.ap.org/icons/spacer.gifCunningham credits Titans coach Jeff Fisher with resurrecting his career by hiring him as linebackers coach in 2001 shortly after the Chiefs fired him after a 16-16 record in two seasons. Cunningham learned of his firing on the Internet.

He came to Nashville, a short drive from where his mother lived, and took over a veteran group of linebackers. The Titans switched gears in 2002 and went younger with Keith Bulluck and Peter Sirmon.

"He had a real way of forming a special bond with each person and kind of figuring out what each person's personality was and pulling you aside at the right time," Sirmon said.

Cunningham said being on Fisher's staff revived his love of the sport.
http://hosted.ap.org/icons/spacer.gifhttp://hosted.ap.org/icons/spacer.gif"I walked into the room every day or into the office and it was camaraderie, it was respect and it was people feeling about the game like I feel about it," he said. "That is when I decided I could do anything."

Even going back to Kansas City. He wanted the chance to prove that he could succeed, so he took over the same job he held between 1995 and 1998, even though he also had been talking about a similar position with the New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons.
Cunningham hasn't had much success yet with a defense where the personnel didn't change from last year despite finishing 29th. He joked that the worst thing in Kansas City has been the room where coaches eat at night.

"Every once in a while I go in there, and there are all these former head coaches' pictures up there and I am between Marty (Schottenheimer) and Dick Vermeil. And I keep thinking I am dead every time I see it. You are not supposed to come back and see that picture on the wall," he said.

"That is the only time I think about it, but it has been great."

The linebacking corps the Titans (4-8) put on the field against Kansas City (4-8) won't feature the starters Cunningham coached last season. Sirmon is out after tearing his left ACL in July, and middle linebacker Rocky Calmus tore his left hamstring last week, putting him out for the rest of the season.

Only Bulluck remains healthy. He took a moment on Thanksgiving to call Cunningham and thank him for helping him reach the Pro Bowl last season, and Bulluck said people just need to be patient for success to follow in Kansas City.

"I told him that it's hard times everywhere, so I know he takes losing very tough and especially (since) he feels people brought him in to do a job and ... nobody feels worse than he does," Bulluck said. "He knows the name of the game. He's been here 21 years. It's football. You have your ups and your downs."

For Cunningham, it's definitely going back up.

Hammock Parties
12-07-2004, 06:30 PM
Gooooonther. :D

12-07-2004, 06:34 PM
The title of this thread frightened me for a moment.

12-07-2004, 06:38 PM
The title of this thread frightened me for a moment.

mybad, but I really hated their title: Chiefs Aide Says Titans Revived His Career

12-07-2004, 06:44 PM
The title of this thread frightened me for a moment.

Yeah, me too. :(

12-07-2004, 06:45 PM
The title of this thread frightened me for a moment.

Fo Sho, LOL. Nice title, Coyote.

Mr. Laz
12-07-2004, 08:39 PM
The title of this thread frightened me for a moment.

why ... because we might lose our dominating defense??

12-07-2004, 08:55 PM
why ... because we might lose our dominating defense??ROFL

12-07-2004, 08:57 PM
mybad, but I really hated their title: Chiefs Aide Says Titans Revived His Career

You hated a title that makes sense and fits the article, so you came up with one that seems totally out of place?:hmmm:

12-07-2004, 09:15 PM

Q: Has going back to Kansas City been what you expected it would be, from a personal standpoint?

GUNTHER CUNNINGHAM: “There’s no question from a personal standpoint it has been. I miss Nashville; every once in awhile I’ll put that country music on. I’ve got that satellite radio, so that helps.”

Q: Do you follow the guys back in Tennessee still? Do you feel sorry for the guys who have been hurt this year?

CUNNINGHAM: “You guys all know me. It’s killing me to watch what’s happened there and going through our thing. I had such a great time watching the first half last week. Jeff (Fisher)’s my wife’s hero. She said every time she got ready for special teams in Nashville, she was standing there in anticipation that something was going to happen, then last week he pulls the three onside kicks. I guess he faked a punt, too. I try to stay in touch. I’ve talked to Keith (Bulluck) several times. One of the great things in my career that’s happened, Keith Bulluck called me on Thanksgiving morning. He had some time between his meetings, and I don’t take phone calls, but our secretary said, ‘You have to take this one.’ It was one of the best things that ever happened to me. It was so rewarding all the effort he and I put in together down there. Our friendship will never go away. And that goes the same for everybody down there.”

Q: What did he say in that phone call?

CUNNINGHAM: “He just said, ‘I wanted to call you on this day and just hope you have a good Thanksgiving.’ We talked about the players and the injuries and what he’s going through. It was all real positive, though. He’s a warrior. I came out of my office last night and James Saxon, our running backs coach, said, ‘Your guy.’ I said, ‘Who, Keith?’ ‘Yeah, he doesn’t miss much. He doesn’t miss tackles.’ He’s a good athlete. I’d like to see him match up with (TE) Tony Gonzalez in the game. While I’ll worry about Jeff (Fisher), Mike Heimerdinger and the offense, I can at least enjoy that match-up.”

Q: When the schedule came out I’m sure you thought this would be a tough match-up between playoff-bound teams. Can you believe the struggles both teams have had?

GUN: “Well, when you play and coach in this league, you never know what’s going to happen. You have great anticipation for success and you know things don’t go your way all the time. I’ve been fortunate. In my last two jobs I’ve worked for the two greatest guys I’ve ever been around. Jeff Fisher, I think he resurrected my career. I can’t thank him enough and respect him enough. I come here and I’ve got the same guy – a little bit older, but… working for Dick (Vermeil) here, he’s been on my side ever since I came back. To be able to coach in the league and have those kind of experiences helps you one the down side, when you’re not winning, when you see people get hurt. Going through the (LB) Peter Sirmon thing; I got the news at 2:30 in the morning at camp. Then I hear (LB) Brad Kassell goes down and (LB) Rocky Calmus goes down. (LB) Rocky Boiman breaks a hand. Thank God Keith Bulluck’s still walking.”

Q: What were your reasons for coming back to Kansas City after your time in Tennessee?

CUNNINGHAM: “I had some great ties here. I was angry when I got fired. Being around Jeff and those players… you know I’m very emotional, every time I reflect back on what happened in Tennessee for those three years, they made me what I was at the beginning of my career. I went back to the days when I coached a Stanford, Cal and knew why I liked coaching. They were the ones that brought that back out in me. I told somebody that the greatest two years I spent coaching were the last two years in Tennessee. I walked into the room every day and it was camaraderie, it was respect. It was people feeling about the game like I feel about it. That was when I felt I could do anything. When all those people called for me to coach for them, I got the call from Kansas City and they asked me if I would talk to (GM) Carl (Peterson) and Dick (Vermeil). I said, ‘Sure I would, just have them dial the number.’ It was difficult at first. You drive around and you feel like you’re in a dream. The worst thing I’ve been through since I’ve been here, there’s this press room where the coaches eat dinner at night and they have all the head coaches’ pictures up there and I’m between Marty (Schottenheimer) and Dick Vermeil and I keep thinking I’m dead every time I see that picture. You’re not supposed to come back and see that picture on the wall. But other than that it’s been great.”

Q: What do you have to do to get the Kansas City defense to the level you want it to be at?

CUNNINGHAM: “We’re making progress in areas. What’s happened here is we make progress in one area and fall back in another. Their (previous) style of play was so different from what I believe in. The players are buying into the thing philosophically, but we make mistakes from time to time. We’ve lost some guys. We lost some of our veteran leadership. (LB) Mike Maslowski never started the year – he was the starting middle linebacker. The two safeties have been in and out all year. So there hasn’t been very much consistency. There have been stretches. We led the NFL in (some categories) of first and second-down defense. Then we also lead the NFL in giving up the big one. You talk about going high and low during games and during the season, it’s driving me crazy. But their effort and their attitude is great. I think the thing I went through my first year at Tennessee (in 2001) was like a nightmare, too. We just kept hammering away, Jim Schwartz, Wash (Jim Washburn), Everett Withers and Chuck Cecil. You go through things like that, but if you experience lows and highs, I think somewhere along the line you figure everything out. We’ve got a bunch of coaches I’ve really never worked with before. Every day it gets a little bit better and we’ve just got to keep hammering away at it.”

Q: When you came in there was the thought by some that you could turn things around single-handedly. Do you think next year you’ll have some new players and maybe some more flexibility in turning things around?

CUNNINGHAM: “That’s up to Carl and the personnel guys here. When I was here in the past, they really involved me in it. It wasn’t like, ‘We’re going to do this; we’re going to do that.’ It’s always a good discussion here and that’s what I like about working with these guys. Dick’s always been great with that and Carl’s been just terrific. We’ve had some discussions through the year, ‘What do you think about different people? Are they making progress?’ We have some young guys. Our linebackers have really never played before. Scott Fujita has, but never played the way we’re playing now. What we have to evaluate is where’s the progress? Where can we go? (DE) Jared Allen’s a young player and I think he’s got 7.0 sacks as a rookie. So we’ve got some players we can really build around and everybody else has got to catch up.”

Q: What are your thoughts on the “46” defense?

CUNNINGHAM: “Why, because we play it once in awhile here? I loved working with those guys in Tennessee. The passion those coaches had. I tell stories about the Titans coaches about every day. To have guys like Jim (Schwartz), Jim (Washburn), Chuck (Cecil) and Everett (Withers), it was a pleasure going to work. That goes the same for that offensive staff. We all had tears in our eyes at the Combine after I left Nashville. Those offensive guys, I respected them just for who they were. To be able to go through everything after being a head coach, you needed a lot of assistance. I’ve read some quotes from Jeff (Fisher) and other people down there about how I helped them, but if you ask my family about who helped whom, maybe some day those hard-headed guys will get it through their heads that they were the ones who helped me.”

Q: Will there be any crying on Monday night?

CUNNINGHAM: “It’s going to be (tough). It took me about 10 hours to say goodbye to all the support staff in Nashville. When you get to be my age and you feel like your whole life is falling apart and you met people like I met down there – and that starts with the head coach – it’s going to be a tough deal for me. We’re going through a tough time and I know they are, too. To be able to coach against Mike Heimerdinger and Mike Munchak and those guys, they’ll know what this is all about.”

Q: Are you confident Dick Vermeil’s going to be there next year in the same role?

CUNNINGHAM: “As far as I know. He never gives any indication of anything else. I’ve been through a few years in this coaching business and I watch him every day. You talk about my energy level, if I’m tired I feel guilty. He is like a Tasmanian Devil. He’s a hard-working guy, coming in around six and leaving at 12:30, one in the morning.”

12-07-2004, 09:43 PM
Gunther is just a few good linebackers away from a top 10 Defense. I believe he will have this D ready next year.

12-07-2004, 09:47 PM
You hated a title that makes sense and fits the article, so you came up with one that seems totally out of place?:hmmm:

yes, yes I did

Hammock Parties
12-07-2004, 09:50 PM
You hated a title that makes sense and fits the article, so you came up with one that seems totally out of place?:hmmm:

LMAO I can just hear your brain popping. ROFL

12-07-2004, 10:21 PM
News briefs: Gleason embarrassed, sorry for low blow
Dec. 6, 2004
SportsLine.com wire reports
NEW ORLEANS -- Saints (http://www.sportsline.com/nfl/teams/page/NO) special teams captain Steve Gleason expects to be fined by the league after being ejected from Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers for throwing a punch.

Gleason was tossed with 1:26 remaining in the first half after punching Panthers defensive end Kemp Rasmussen in his groin at the end of a kickoff return.

"There was really no justification for what I did," an embarrassed Gleason said Monday. "That's not my character, not the way I play the game. I'm humiliated."

Gleason was on his knees after the play and Rasmussen was standing in front of him. There was a slight pause and then Gleason threw the punch.

"It's a violent game and I was frustrated," Gleason said. "I felt like the play was over and they had kept blocking me."

Gleason said he had never drawn a personal foul before, let alone been ejected. He had not talked to coach Jim Haslett about the incident.

"I should apologize to everyone," Gleason said. "My opponent, my team and my coach. I'm just sick about it."

NFL director of football operations Gene Washington is expected to review the incident.