Jason Cunningham spends his days working for a second chance at the NFL.
"it's tough at this point, but I'm not saying it's not possible," said Cunningham. "A team could still need a kicker in training camp and say we should bring him in."
Cunningham is a former kicking standout at Tascosa High School and Montana State, where he was All-Conference as a senior. Cunningham got his first taste of the NFL in 2012 when he was invited to mini camp with the Kansas City Chiefs. Although he was not invited to return for training camp last summer, Cunningham, who kicks currently for the Amarillo Venom, said the experience could be the difference in stepping up his game and making an NFL if he receives a second opportunity.
"I went to a few free agent combines this year and kicked with some guys and hung with them fine," said Cunningham. "Some of those guys actually signed with teams last year. I believe I'm as good as they are so it gives me more of a drive to better myself to get back into the game next year."
Until Cunningham receives that call from an NFL General Manager, he works out daily to sharpen his Arena Football League skills and to stay prepared for another look at the NFL. I was fortunate enough to spend a morning with Cunningham learning the art of field goal kicking. Not surprising, our kicking session eventually turned into a Pitt's Sports Challenge.
The challenge was simple. From whatever distance I successfully made a kick, Cunningham would make an attempt 20 yards behind that point. Considering Jason Cunningham is a professional football kicker, I had a feeling this Pitt's Sports Challenge would be hard to win.
I connected on field goals from only 20 and 25 yards. It did not take Cunningham long to win the challenge, hitting from 45, 50, 55 and 60 yards.
"This is a great way for me to get my work in," Cunningham said during our challenge. "This is fun. I need to always stay in shape and mentally ready, incase someone from the league calls."
After watching Jason Cunningham make field goal after field goal in the unpredictable Panhandle winds, I am certain a second chance at the NFL could be the one that sticks.