Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires

center_img “When you see him, [he has] a massive frame, 6-6, 311 pounds, and I’m not sure I’ve seen many guys test like this,” Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said. “He ran 4.90 (in the 40), jumped 36 inches at that size, which again, is off the charts. I haven’t seen many guys, particularly offensive tackles, vertical jump 36 inches. He’s a former basketball player, and we think he has loads of upside.”Cunningham’s road to the NFL took several turns out of Montevallo, Alabama (population: 6,723). His first college offer came from Auburn, the school for which he grew up rooting, but when the Tigers terminated coach Gene Chizik’s contract after the 2012 season, new coach Gus Malzahn wasn’t interested in Cunningham so the recruit committed to Alabama-Birmingham.Related LinksCardinals’ quarterback dynamics offers potential for high dramaCardinals release quarterbacks Brandon Doughty, Alek TorgersenB/R’s Farrar: Cardinals’ Rosen should be an NFL Rookie of the Year favoriteWhen assistant coach Tyson Helton, the brother of USC head coach Clay Helton, left UAB to coach at Cincinnati, he convinced Cunningham to visit the school and coach Tommy Tuberville. Cunningham committed shortly thereafter.“I hated it at first,” he said, laughing. “I hated the cold weather. It was just a big culture change coming from a small town here in Alabama. I wanted to come home and I told myself I was going to leave, but after a year or so, I ended up falling in love with that place.” Cunningham said he just wants to be “a sponge” and soak up everything his coaches and teammates have to teach him his first NFL season. In return, Crook said the Cardinals are gaining a player who was voted a team captain, who started 24 consecutive games at left tackle, and who brought a lighthearted and vocal approach to the locker room and field.An avid hunter and fisherman, Cunningham once ate nine lobsters at the American Athletic Conference Media Day. He liked to take his Bearcats teammates fishing at a pond near a teammate’s house, and he accepted and lost a burrito eating challenge with a local television personality.“I’m a big Chipotle fan,” Cunningham said. “I ate there every day and somehow she found out about it and wanted to challenge me to a burrito eating contest. I’m not going to lie. I did not think she was going to eat a burrito that fast. She even got the type of burrito that I eat. Next thing you know, she scarfed it down. I was like, ‘that did not just happen.’ I was halfway done. Trust me, I did not go easy on her. She definitely gave me that work.”Cunningham can also dish out that work. He liked to employ a time-honored prank with his city-raised teammates by taking them snipe hunting. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling “He’s intelligent, he’s a very hard worker, he’s extremely concerned about his teammates, and he’s very selfless in everything he does. Those are things that will serve him well.” Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img

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