Zach Cunningham admits quite honestly, that, yes, getting a win Sunday in Houston and helping the Titans clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs will mean a little more to him personally because it is against the Texans.
Cunningham was dumped on the waiver wire by the Texans on Dec. 8, just months after signing four-year, $58 million extension with Houston. The Titans picked him up the following day, and after making it through the Covid protocols with Tennessee, Cunningham has been a starter at inside linebacker for three weeks now.
Reports were that Cunningham had been late for meetings in Houston, helping to hasten his departure there.
“Obviously, it's going to mean more for me, being able to clinch it going against the team that I just recently, as of a month ago, played with. It's definitely going to mean more for me,” the former Vanderbilt standout said.
While it will be a nice added benefit for Cunningham persionally, it means more to the team as the Titans can claim a first-round bye with the win and claim the possibility of two home games in the postseason. That's a far cry from the situation in Houston, where the Texans are rebuilding and come into the game with a 4-12 record.
“I had a lot of good experiences in Houston. I had a lot of good people – coaches and players. Overall, I had a great time while I was there. I was blessed with the opportunity I was given, but I'm just trying to take full advantage of where I'm at now,” Cunningham said. “I hadn't really given too much thought to it. I'm just trying to go out there and do what I can to help the team win. That was my same process when I was at the Texans.
“It's been a blessing for me (to come to Tennessee), being put in that position. That's something I want to take full advantage of and do what I can for the team and help the team win.”
Cunningham said it will be fun to play against his former team and in his former home, but he said he won't get too emotional about the situation.
“I'm usually not a very emotional guy. I just play how I play. That's always been my game, no matter who I play against,” he said. “For me, it's going to be a good expereince just to go back and see those guys, but I'm going to play how I play regardless of who I'm playing against, whether I know the person or don't know the person.”