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The Cunningham Column

"I want people to understand, whether it's practice or a game, I don't hold anything back," says Cunningham. "If you do that, you can live with your mistakes. Yes, I've seen booed. But I want the people of Philadelphia to know that when I don't get it done, I feel worse than the person who boos, because I've let myself down as well.

"My dad worked hard. When he worked. My mom worked hard. She worked every day until she got cancer. My mother would not allow us on welfare. If it meant she had to clean a house to scratch a dime, she would. After seeing her, I would collect bottles, wash cars, push lawn mowers to get five dollars for a date. So I know how to work. I think the fans see that. But the West Coast is different. It's like history back here in the East. While growing up, I actually thought people didn't care what color you were Racism is history, but it's real.

"One thing I'd like to say is that it must have come out wrong, comparing myself to Jordan, Magic and Gretzky. Guys like that were given talent from God, but more than that, they are proud of it. A lot of people have been given talent but strayed off and never appreciated their talent, and never worked at it. That's why I work so lard, and always have, so God can see I'm not taking advantage of the situation in the wrong way. I want to be the best. It's going to take work. When it's all said and done Gretzky, Air and Magic tapped the potential that was in them. All I have ever wanted was a chance to do that.

"I've been given the talent to run and throw and kick. The way Buddy has built me up, the pressure's definitely on me. I'd rather it be on me than on Buddy. He's a good old man, and if you pass his psychology test, he'll be on your side forever. Buddy calls me the Boss and wants me to run the offense the way I feel comfortable doing it. He believes a quarterback who calls his own game can dominate a game. I'm going to assume he's right."