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Randall Cunningham turns 50: A look back

By Evan Hilbert | CBSSports.com


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Randall Cunningham redefined the quarterback position. (Getty Images)

In case you've not yet been reminded today that you're getting old, here ya go: Randall Cunningham is turning 50.

The former dynamic quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles -- and later the Vikings, Cowboys, and Ravens -- reminisced on his career with NFL Network's Jeff Darlington.

"I don't know how I did the things I did," Cunningham said.

No one else really did, either.

Cunningham's playing days started at UNLV, where he was a two-time All-American -- as a punter. He later quarterbacked the team to a 11-2 record -- the best in school history.

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Cunningham during his playing days at UNLV. (Getty Images)

Drafted by the Eagles in 1985, some of Cunningham's most indelible memories come from his time in Philly. Blasting a punt 91 yards against the Giants. Scrambling on third-and-14 in his own end zone against the Bills, eventually uncorking an improbable 95-yard touchdown pass. There are, literally, dozens more.

Out of football for a year in '96, Cunningham led a surprising Vikings team to a 15-1 record in 1998 -- Randy Moss' rookie season -- and an appearance in the NFC Championship Game.

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Cunningham nearly led the Vikings to a perfect season in '98. (Getty Images)

Cunningham made two more forgettable stops with the Cowboys and Ravens before retiring in 2001. But, as Darlington and Cunningham discuss, he's paved the way for the sudden resurgence of the running quarterback.

"My dad loved watching Cunningham, so when I decided to play football, all we did was watch his highlights," Robert Griffin III told Darlington. "We'd watch how well he moved in the pocket to avoid defenders and make plays -- not just with his legs, but with his arm. He was one of the first true game-changers the league saw."

When he left the game, Cunningham's 4,928 rushing yards was tops all-time for a quarterback. His record stood until 2011, when it was shattered by, appropriately, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick .

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