Randall Cunningham heard recently that 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick used to study his game film. That amused Cunningham, because his own son is now studying Kaepernick.

"It's come full circle," Cunningham said with a laugh.

Randall Cunningham Jr. isn't the only Kaepernick fan in the household. Dad likes him, too. The four-time Pro Bowl selection will be rooting for the quarterback this Sunday when the 49ers face the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game.

"I love Kaepernick," the four-time Pro Bowl selection said in a phone interview. "I love him as a player. I love his character. I love the way he handles himself in interviews. I'm pulling for him."

As the 49ers quarterback knows, Cunningham, now 49, was a seminal figure in a wave of running quarterbacks. Mostly a star for the Philadelphia Eagles, the speedy, strong-armed passer rushed for 4,928 and 35 touchdowns during an NFL career that spanned from 1985-2001.

Cunningham set an NFL career record by averaging 6.3 yards per carry (775 career rushes).

The former UNLV star is now the pastor at Remnant Ministries in Las Vegas. Cunningham said he has been aware of Kaepernick since the quarterback was a dual-threat at the University of Nevada-Reno.

There are some easy comparisons. Cunningham was 6-foot-4, 215; Kaepernick is 6-4, 230. Both went to high school in California (Cunningham in Santa Barbara; Kaepernick in Turlock.) Both attended college in Nevada. Both wore No. 7.


Advertisement

And then there are those legs.

"The thing that's beautiful to me is that these guys now, like Kaepernick, they have the ability to move," Cunningham said. "It's not just that they can run. They're really good at sensing pressure and moving out of the pocket. It's like almost everybody has that ability now -- it's been coming for some time.

"But what's really refreshing is that so many of these young guys also have the right character -- they have the attributes of a (Tom) Brady or a Peyton Manning."

It sounds as if Cunningham's son could lead the next wave of athletic youngsters. Randall Jr. won the National Junior Olympic high jump competition by clearing 7 feet, 2 inches.

Cunningham said he hasn't really done much speed training with his boy, but his goal is to get Randall Jr. to run a 40 yard dash in 4.3 or low 4.4s.

As for the kid's NFL future?

"I love Jim Harbaugh," Cunningham said. "I played against him and I always liked talking to guys like him and Steve Young. I have a lot of respect for them. Jim Harbaugh is the kind of coach I'd love my son to play for."