Back in his playing days, Randall Cunningham was a true football pioneer, transcending how the quarterback position was played. Coming into the league as a second-round pick from UNLV, Randall overcame doubters and would-be tacklers to throw for 29,979 yards and 4,928 yards rushing (2nd all-time).
But there are some problems in life that even Randall Cunningham can’t scramble his way out of, at least not without a little help. Cunningham, a born-again Christian, became an ordained Protestant minister and founded his own church in Las Vegas, where he went to finish his degree after a stellar playing career. He has discovered, through his faith, that we as people have the power to create ourselves and make a positive difference in the world.
Being the loving person that Randall is, he used his passion and willingness to help others in creating his newest book, Lay It Down: How Letting Go Brings Out Your Best. As the late Jimmy Valvano said, "Take time every day to laugh, to think, to cry.” This book is the perfect recipe for stimulating all three of these emotions.
Randall was kind enough to sit down with backsportspage.com and talk about his newest book in an exclusive interview.
BackSportsPage.com: For those of us who haven’t heard about your new book, please tell us a little about Lay It Down: How Letting Go Brings Out Your Best.
Randall: I was really inspired because America has been going through a very difficult time with the recession. Many people have lost their jobs, divorce rate has increased, too many single parents, and it has just been really difficult. I went through a similar situation with losing my son Christian at two and a half years old to a drowning, and it has been in my heart to write something that heals people. I wrote a book that gives outlooks and solutions, for people looking at tomorrow, saying that it doesn’t have to be dim and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We can lay things down and sometimes that calls us to look at our lives and determine if we are doing the things that we need to do to be a better person in society. When we hit bumps in the road we need to learn to give them to God and get through them.
BackSportsPage.com: What inspired you to write this book?
Randall: I went to a conference in Virginia and shared my experiences about the good times of life and losing my son. The story happened to get to a gentleman named Ted Squires who is an awesome Christian man who approached me about writing a book. I had already prophesized about writing a book and I cherished that thought so it prompted me to fulfill this requirement. We hooked up with Worthy Publishing and this book has been doing very well across the country. I have even received testimonies of people telling me that they read it in one day and couldn’t put it down.
BackSportsPage.com: How did you come up with the title?
Randall: Originally, I wanted to make the book about what I went through with my son and we would have titled it He Was His First, meaning he was God’s child first. There came a point in time where I had my son in my arms and I had to release him and let him go physically, emotionally, and spiritually and keep the notion of him being my baby. This was an extremely tough thing, but there are many things we need to lay down in life. Many people have held on to their struggles throughout their lives and they need to let it go. What I am trying to do is bring forth a healing to people who want to make a difference in their lives.
BackSportsPage.com: You have plenty of football references throughout the book and it has been a huge part of your life, so what role did football play while writing this book?
Randall: It opened me up to realize why certain people were put into my life and why I was put in theirs. The late Reggie White is a perfect example of having accountability. He came into my life during my first year with the Philadelphia Eagles and he was the kind of person who would get in your face and tell you the truth. When he did this to me, it opened my eyes to realize that I cannot be a selfish, self-centered type of person that nobody can figure out. Reggie really broke me down and showed me that I can’t be a hypocrite. He really demonstrated to me that I could claim Christianity and live a righteous life. I could have gone the other way but he really helped turn my life around to grow into a mature man that can help others around me.
BackSportsPage.com: Why did you enjoy writing this book more than your first book, I’m Still Scrambling?
Randall: This book had more of a purpose. For the first book, I was approached by a publisher who wanted to use my popularity to make sales. But this book derived from hardships in my own life and looking back at why everything happened the way it did. I am proud to be able to get this book to the public because it is a tool to encourage people. There are points in the book where people will ask how I could be so strong, and then there are other points where people think, “Hey, well, he’s just like me.” There are life application questions so it can be used as a workbook within your community, as well.
BackSportsPage.com: Is there one specific message that you want your readers to grasp?
Randall: The main purpose is that we can create ourselves. We really need to find out who we are. Through this book, you will basically find out that I am nothing. I am just a person on this earth who has been given a vision and through it all, I trust that God is leading my life. I want to be a person who encourages and uplifts people. This book will allow people to grow and switch from negative to positive thinking. It will allow hope to live in the light, not darkness.
BackSportsPage.com: Speaking of hope, how do you feel about the new pistol offense for which you were a pioneer? Do you think this type of scheme could work long-term?
Randall: This style can definitely work over the long haul. Defensive players are very athletic and you can’t have a quarterback sitting in the pocket like a lame duck. You need someone who can maneuver. These new kids are young, strong, fast, and gifted. I would rather have a player like that in my offense, knowing that at any time they could run 70 yards rather than have someone who can sit back and get hurt in the pocket like I did two times in my career. This style is going to be around for quite a while.
BackSportsPage.com: Another controversial topic in the NFL is concussions and long-term injuries. Do you feel any effects of your playing days?
Randall: Not really. I feel great and I just recently turned 50 years old. I think what they are doing with protecting the players is vital and the commissioner is doing a great job of keeping the integrity of the league.
BackSportsPage.com: Have you reached out to any of the new age quarterbacks who have a playing style that is similar to yours?
Randall: I reach out to RG3 often and we spoke a lot while he was training for the draft. I have been praying for his recovery from afar. I want to reach out and encourage all of these guys that it isn’t all about football. We need to be positive in society knowing that we are leaders to the kids who are inspired by us.
BackSportsPage.com: Given your inside information, having played with Randy Moss, do you think he is the best WR of all time?
Randall: I played with a lot of great WRs, in the Pro Bowl, flag football, and as teammates. When it comes to ability, the sky is the limit for Randy Moss. He could probably play another ten years. If people think that he has lost his speed then they are making a big mistake because teams are just covering him differently now. Statistically speaking, nobody could match Jerry Rice but if Randy had played in that 49ers offense then, wow, what a tandem that would have been and this wouldn’t be a toss-up. But for me, I would say that Randy Moss is one of the most talented players to play that position.
Lay It Down: How Letting Go Brings Out Your Best can be purchased at all major outlets and at the links provided below: