Eagles Team Owner Jeffrey Lurie on the induction of Al Wistert and Randall Cunningham into the Eagles Honor Roll: "Today is obviously a very special day because we're inducting two very special athletes into the Eagles Honor Roll in Al Wistert and Randall Cunningham. There are very few people who are more deserving than these two. That's what today is all about, and I couldn't be happier for the Eagles franchise. These two were amazing both on and off the field."
Lurie on the time in between Honor Roll inductions and whether more individuals will be inducted in the near future: "It kind of depends on the year. This isn't the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and by the way, these two guys [are deserving], so let me put a plug in for [their Hall of Fame consideration]. In terms of this gentleman to my left [Wistert], I don't know of too many players who made the All-Pro Team virtually 90 percent of their playing career. If this happened today, with an offensive tackle who won two championship trophies, played in three championship games, and captained those teams, it would be hard to believe that Al would not be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Randall revolutionized the game on the field, off the field, and was just an outstanding, electrifying athlete. I'm sure we're biased here, but [their enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame] is a no-brainer for the two of them. I look forward to that day for the two of them, and hopefully it's soon. Sometimes we honor anniversary teams, championship anniversaries, and individual retirements such as Duce Staley's. Sometimes it gets a little cluttered, and we always want to make this [Honor Roll induction] a real focus point. That's kind of the plan, and each year it's kind of an individual decision whether we honor an anniversary or a great individual player or two. We'll just continue to operate that way the best we can so that when somebody does get inducted into the Eagles Honor Roll, it's not combined with something else, but it's really focused on these players."
Al Wistert on his reaction to being inducted into the Eagles Honor Roll: "I think it's fantastic. When you get to be almost 90-years-old, any fuss that they make over you is very pleasant. This trip coming back to Philadelphia at this time is just so thrilling to me that I hardly have words to describe it. I've been dreaming about this since I was six-years-old."
Wistert on where he now resides: "I live in Grants Pass, Oregon, in the southwest corner of Oregon about a hundred miles off the pacific coast. There is great fishing there."
Randall Cunningham on his reaction to being inducted into the Eagles Honor Roll: "I'm very honored that Mr. Lurie would consider me. To be able to get into the Honor Roll is a blessing. I went out and saw some of the guys that have been inducted, and it was great to see Jerome Brown and Reggie [White] and other players, but to go in with Al [Wistert] is awesome because I'm 46, and to be sitting here with Al is just a pleasure. I think about my son being able to be here. If you guys remember during the Dallas playoff game, we were having him and I didn't get to go to practice, but now he gets to share in this with my daughters Vashti and Grace, and my sons [Christian and Randall] who are in the other room along with my brother [former NFL running back] Sam-Bam [Cunningham], and with my wife [Felicity] and my aunt.. It's a pleasure just to come back to Philadelphia and to step on the field with Al. It's an honor to receive something like this. This is my Hall of Fame. I'm satisfied now."
Cunningham on what he does now: "I'm a pastor. I've been the pastor at Remnant Ministries, a church in Las Vegas. We just celebrated our fifth anniversary. We constructed a building three years ago, and the building is too small and we have 555 seats. We're getting ready to construct a new 12 million dollar facility. We're trying to be effective in the community and raise kids up to ensure that we don't have more prostitutes, drug dealers, and gang members on the street. We're up to about a congregation of 1,000 people already. I'm also coaching. I coach my son's football team, and we're 0-1 so far unfortunately. We had a few turnovers in the game – no punts and all turnovers, but we only lost 18-14. I'm coaching football, and track and field also. [My children] Vashti and Randall are top high jumpers in America."
On what Cunningham thinks about QB Michael Vick's regular season debut today: "First of all I'm excited that Mr. Lurie brought him here and trust me, you don't want to play against a kid like that. I got the opportunity to sit with he and [QB] Donovan McNabb and just to hug them and to be there for them and to just see the generations of quarterbacks, African-American quarterbacks, coming through Philadelphia. It's a plus to see these young kids out there, giving them the opportunity to play. I think he's going to do a great job. I think when Donovan comes back the league should watch out because once he gets healthy and you've got both of those kids on the field, it's going to be pretty amazing."
On whether Cunningham thinks that the series of African-American quarterbacks playing for the Eagles is his lineage to the team: "Well I think back to when not many African-American quarterbacks were allowed to play, regardless to the reason. I look at the opportunity that [former Eagles owner] Norman Braman gave me here and Jeff Lurie and the four head coaches that we had and all the offensive coordinators and I applaud them because it was at a time when it was not very popular. But yes, there is a generation of quarterbacks. I look back to [former NFL QB] Doug Williams. I was always a [former Dallas Cowboys QB] Roger Staubach fan, number 12, and of course that's why I wear it. And even [former NFL QB] Fran Tarkenton. I look back to many quarterbacks who inspired me and to see Doug win the Super Bowl, it's great, to see Donovan go to the Super Bowl as an African-American, it was great, I was at that game. It's a blessing, but I think that that myth is over with now. I think that [former NFL QB] Warren Moon and myself, we were some of the quarterbacks that we still trying to fight through it, but I think that that myth is gone now and that African-American quarterbacks can play just as well as anyone else."
On whether Cunningham and his team used some form of the Wildcat: "Yes, but [former Eagles coach] Buddy [Ryan] said to go out and make 5-7 big plays, that was the Wildcat back then. It's getting all this publicity now, but you know even [former QB] Matt Cavanaugh participated in it because he would come in, whether it was a quarterback sneak or whatever. With Buddy Ryan I would come in on third and long and [former NFL QB Ron] Jaworski would be there on first and second and he'd smile coming off the field. I knew he wanted to be in there, but he still smiled because he knew the percentages were kind of low to convert a third down on 3rd and eight. It's something that was done in the past, it gets good publicity nowadays, we just didn't have a name for it back then."
On what Wistert thinks about new wrinkles, such as the Wildcat, developing in the game: "Having been a lineman, it makes it a lot tougher on us because you don't know what's coming next and in the meantime, all these guys you're playing against are getting bigger and bigger and bigger and that's a tougher assignment now. I'm glad I played when I did because I enjoyed every minute of it, and I usually spent 60 minutes of every game in those days, but I wouldn't want to be trying to do that in the game today."
On the impressions Wistert has when he walks into modern stadiums today: "Wow. I just got to see the outside of our [Lincoln Financial Field] here today and it's very, very impressive. You know, back in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where I went to school, I went to the University of Michigan there, the stadium that we're playing in and which, for the last 35 years has entertained crowds in excess of 100,000 people, was built in 1928 and is still there and we're still using it. We saved and awful lot of money because it costs million and millions of dollars to build these stadiums, you know. And I'm surprised to see how they'll walk away from one stadium and pick out a new one, like we have done with [Lincoln Financial Field] here. Boy, that's some investment."
On Cunningham's greatest memory as an Eagle: "My greatest memory actually wasn't an individual play. It was in 1992 when we won our playoff game. We had been, we had the goose egg for a few years and that was very difficult. So in New Orleans when we went down there and we played against that number-one ranked defense and against [former New Orleans Saints] Bobby Hebet and the guys and just remembering Freddy [Barnett] catching passes, diving in the end zone and Calvin [Williams] and guys just doing whatever they can do to score. With a hostile crowd, it was so loud no one could hear me counting the signal. It was a blessing to win that game and it was like a relief at the same time."
On Cunningham's one play that stands out in his mind: "A lot of people ask me about what was the hardest hit that I took. And I always think back to when we were here, at Vets Stadium, of course, with the rats running all around the place and things like that, eating up the cats. And we were at about our 25 or 30-yard line going toward their locker room, so we had about 70 yards to go. I had to get a first down and it was about 3rd and 8 and I ran up the sideline and I dove for the first down and Alvin Walden I think his name was, he hit me in the air. And we're supposed to be tough guys. I jumped up and ran back to the huddle and ran out of wind and laid on the ground. I looked next to me and I think it was Ron Heller, was lying down, so I felt okay that he was there next to me. But that was probably my most memorable play, besides being injured in Green Bay and in the Giants Stadium."
On whether Cunningham keeps in touch with any of his old teammates: "Yeah, [LB] Byron Evans, [S] Mark McMillian, I called [RB] Keith Byars. I think he's at Boca Raton high school in Florida coaching a team. I think his son is in high school now, running back too. And then I talk to [WR] Mike Quick from time to time, [WR] Kenny Jackson, and then of course the players from the other teams like [WR] Raghib Ismail, who I met with the Cowboys. But, not a lot of the guys do I talk to. I think you guys remember the tight end [Maurice Johnson], who was a backup tight end back in the day; I talked to him the other day through facebook. I guess with facebook you can talk to anybody nowadays. It's easier to get in contact with people so, it's a good entity to be involved with."
On what it was like to join the Cowboys after all his years playing for the Eagles: "It was difficult. To come back and then to go to the Minnesota Vikings, not being in the same division but the same conference, that was one thing. But, to know that I would have to come back to Philadelphia to play against the Eagles twice, that was very difficult. Being a rivalry all those years and the response, when I came to the stadium I was like, 'Oh my God, what's going to happen?' It was a 50-50 thing. Some people were happy to see me back in the league and then others were like, 'How could you?' I kind of felt the same way, but there weren't open doors to too many teams so I had to walk through the door that I could."
On when he was able to sit down with Vick and McNabb and what they talked about: "Yesterday I was blessed to get to go on the field and just watch a practice. That was my first time being able to be in the new facility because I don't get to get back here that often. I watched the practice and it was great just being able to see what they're going to do. But to have my son there and to be able to hug them and just say, 'hey congratulations and Mike, I'm praying for you. Donovan, I'm praying for you. I'm pulling for you guys.' And to see Jeff Garcia, that was pretty awesome because I've only met him maybe one time. To walk in the locker room, to me, to see some of the guys it was great. To see some of the people that were here when I was playing here, it was great. Just to see the facility and the marvelous job that's been done over there. I kind of wish that I could come back and play just to experience that. No, I'm too old. I have gray hairs in my eyebrows; I can't play anymore."
On whether the younger players on the Eagles now recognize him given how young they were when he played: "Some of them do remember me and some of them walk by just, 'hey, what's up dude?' and keep on going. Some of the guys who are Christians they walk up and say 'hey pastor, how are you doing?' It's really cool just to get back. I haven't been involved with the NFL; I mean I'll do an autograph signing and things like that. But, to be in a facility and to spend time with them, it's a great feeling just to be connected again."
On what his initial reaction was to the Eagles signing of Vick: "I was excited because I was thinking, if somebody is going to sign him and it's in the NFC and the NFC east, in the division that I played in, I thought just let him go to Philadelphia. I figured he would be with the Eagles or with a team like Baltimore or with Jerry Jones in Dallas. I said 'oh no, please don't let him go to Dallas. Don't let that happen.' It's great that he's here with this team. I applaud Mr. Lurie because I really believe that he cares. This shows that he cares, not just about winning, but about players. He's always been that kind of person. When I was here he always took care of me. Always was a nice man, we would go to dinner. He develops relationships with the players and I appreciate that."
Lurie comments: "Randall is being humble. When he, after practice yesterday, goes in the locker room, I have to tell you these guys, so many of them either wanted his autograph, wanted to talk to him, just wanted to meet him for the first time. It was special for a lot of our players. It meant a lot to them to have Randall there. It was quite a scene."
On whether Randall thinks the team would have been different had Mr. Lurie been the owner when he played: "I just think that he's done a great job. I wish I could have played a little bit longer. Maybe if I had been in my fifth or sixth year when he got here it would have been marvelous. But, God's timing is impeccable. I'm just happy to be able to sit next to him and reminisce on the old times of spending time with his family and him spending time with my family. To be in this new facility, you guys remember what it was like in the olden days. I remember we had a basketball court in our weight room and my God, the basketball court was about one third the size of the room and the weight room, you really didn't want to go inside the weight room, kind of wanted to workout outside. The work he has done as an owner has been immaculate, superb. I just wish I was about 35 years old, right at the prime of my career. I'm done though, for sure."