Patriots’ Malik Cunningham Reveals Where He Wants to Play

Malik Cunningham

Getty Malik Cunningham explained his hopes for finding a niche with the Patriots.

Malik Cunningham fell short of wowing the New England Patriots coaching staff in the preseason finale, but he knows where he wants to play for the team either way.

“I’m a football player. Whatever they need me to do, I’m going to do it,” Cunningham told reporters after the Patriots’ 23-7 preseason loss to the Tennessee Titans on Friday, August 25.

Cunningham, who split time at wide receiver and quarterback in the preseason, went 0-2 passing and ran for five yards on one carry in the finale. He also lost a yard on his lone catch of the night amid four targets.

An undrafted free agent, Cunningham impressed scouts with his Lamar Jackson-like skills amid a stellar college career at Louisville. Cunningham threw for 9,664 yards and 70 touchdowns plus 3,182 yards rushing for 50 touchdowns in his career. He notably beat Jackson’s touchdown record at Louisville in 2022.

“The biggest surprise [for me] … college and the NFL are just so much more different. I would say from the weight room perspective, definitely different. A lot more meetings in the league, spending more time at the stadium to get your body right,” Cunningham said.

“I got into a routine in college. When you’re the best athlete on the field in college, not much you can really do, but in the league, everybody around you is definitely good,” Cunningham added. “It was good finally to get in a routine and learn from some of those older guys.”

Malik Cunningham Started at QB Followed by Receiver With Patriots

The Patriots utilized Cunningham at quarterback in minicamp but switched him over the wide receiver in training camp. Cunningham wowed in his preseason debut with 3-4 passing for 19 yards plus five carries for 34 yards rushing and a touchdown.

Cunningham didn’t play quarterback in the second preseason game against the Green Bay Packers on August 19 as Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe took the snaps. Things didn’t go well for Cunningham at receiver as he failed to make a catch amid five targets.

“First of all, I just want to give thanks to God and my teammates for pushing me ∞ even family back home just staying in my ear and just keeping me motivated,” Cunningham said.

“But I feel like I did good over those three games. A lot to learn from. A lot to take on the chin,” Cunningham added. “A lot of things I did good. A lot more things to work on as a quarterback/receiver — wherever they put me at.”

“It’s a blessing just to be here. I just want to thank God again for all the glory and blessing me with these abilities, and we’ll see where things go from here,” Cunningham concluded.

Malik Cunningham Faces Tall Order With Patriots’ Receiver Depth

Cunningham will have stiff competition to crack the roster at receiver, which includes rookies Demario Douglas and Kayshon Boutte — both of whom Cunningham expressed his appreciation for. Neither Douglas nor Boutte played against the Titans after solid performances against the Packers last week.

“I’ve been knowing ‘Pop’ [Douglas] a little bit longer than I’ve known Boutte. It’s kind of crazy because me and Pop, we were at the combine and we just talked like ‘dang, we might be on the same team’ and then, next thing you know, we were on the same team,” Cunningham said. “That’s just the quarterback in me wanting so everybody succeed.”

Besides the rookies, the Patriots have veterans at receiver such as JuJu Smith-Schuster, DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne, and Tyquan Thornton.

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