Chiefs defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham took the same job today with the Detroit Lions.
He is the third Chiefs assistant coach to flee since the end of the season, joining secondary coach David Gibbs and special teams coordinator Mike Priefer. Gibbs went to Houston, Priefer to Denver.
Detroit's new head coach, Jim Schwartz, and Cunningham worked together with the Tennessee Titans during the three seasons between the time Cunningham was fired as Chiefs head coach and rehired as their defensive coordinator.
Cunningham had an occasionally spectacular four-year run as Chiefs defensive coordinator from 1995 through 1998. He was then promoted to head coach following Marty Schottenheimer’s departure. Cunningham was fired after two seasons to make way for Dick Vermeil.
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He spent three seasons as the Titans linebacker coach and then returned to the Chiefs as Vermeil’s defensive coordinator in 2004. Edwards retained Cunningham when he joined the Chiefs as head coach in 2006.
Cunningham was hailed as the conquering hero but without such defensive stars as Derrick Thomas, Neil Smith, Dale Carter and James Hasty, Cunningham couldn’t will the Chiefs to the same defensive success as he did in his previous tenure.
They finished at or near the bottom in most significant defensive categories in 2008. The Chiefs set an NFL record for fewest sacks with 10.