Former NFL All-Pro Randall Cunningham has a new role in the league.
The longtime quarterback has been hired as the Raiders' new team chaplain. Cunningham played his college football at UNLV in Las Vegas -- the new home of the franchise -- for many years and even founded his own church in the area, Remnant Ministries, where he is the pastor.
"I'm elated, flabbergasted," Cunningham told ESPN's Paul Gutierrez on 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 Marcus Mariota, Nelson Agholor. What an amazing group of people (Raiders owner) Mark Davis and (head coach) Jon Gruden have put together."
Davis believes Cunningham will be an ideal fit, citing his sterling reputation in the Las Vegas community.
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"He's going to take care of the guys in Las Vegas," Davis told ESPN.com. "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."
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Cunningham was named to four Pro Bowls over his 16 years in the NFL, including a 1998 campaign with the Vikings in which he led Minnesota to a 13-1 regular-season record and earned First-Team All-Pro honors.
The 57-year-old will be replacing Napoleon Kaufman, the head coach of Oakland's Bishop O'Dowd High School football team.
Marcus Mariota wasn't brought in with the expectation of being a starting quarterback for the Raiders in Year 1.
But early in training camp for Las Vegas, Mariota's athleticism and ability to make plays already are making an impression on his new coaching staff.
“He’s interesting. He took off a couple times today and really fired me up,” Gruden said after Friday’s practice (h/t RaidersWire). “He’s been hurt. Looked like the ankle has really turned the corner. He’s a dazzling playmaker with his feet and that’s the key to his game. I saw glimpses of that today and it was exciting. Started off slow in 7-on-7 but picked it up and had a really nice day.”
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After being the starting QB for the Tennessee Titans in each of his first four NFL seasons, he was usurped by Ryan Tannehill on the depth chart after being benched during a Week 6 loss. Tannehill started the remainder of the season as Tennessee advanced to the AFC Championship Game before losing to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Derek Carr is solidified as QB1 for the franchise's first season in Las Vegas, but don't count out Mariota to have some kind of a role in the offense week to week. Now that Gruden has seen it up close and personal, he'll have a hard time keeping Mariota's eye-popping speed on the sideline.
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Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby has been activated from the COVID-19 list and cleared to return to the team.
He was on the practice field at the team facility for Friday morning’s training camp practice.
Crosby, who led the team with 10 sacks as a rookie last season, went on the list Aug. 6 and missed a week of camp.