Saturday, November 19, 2005

After Giving a 'No' to Iowa State TV Commentator Job, Jake Sullivan Says It Was 'Toughest Decision of My Life....God's Hand Is Leading Me'

When former Drake placekicker Billy Cundiff [right] sustained a quadriceps tear in training camp, the Dallas Cowboys knew there would be an opportunity to re-sign him at some point.

But it would be well down the road.

When the opportuny arrived to re-sign the fourth-year kicker, the Cowboys jumped at the chance.

After an impressive workout Friday, the Cowboys signed Cundiff--a native of Harlan, Ia.--today and released rookie kicker Shaun Suisham, who has handled the kicking duties for the Cowboys for the last two games.

Cundiff, who set 15 Drake school and five Pioneer Football League records from 1998-2001 now takes over and will be ready for Sunday's game with the Lions at noon Sunday Texas Stadium.

Cundiff has a one-year deal worth the fourth-year minimum $455,000, although the kicker will receive less than half of that total since only seven games remain in the regular season.

When Cundiff tore his right quad in the final practice of training camp, Cowboys coach Bill Parcells decided the club could not keep him on the 53-man roster until he healed.

The Cowboys released Cundiff, paying him a six-week injury settlement - the projected time he would need to heal and pass a physical. NFL rules prevent teams from re-signing players paid an injury settlement for a mandatory six weeks, plus the number of weeks of salary paid in the settlement. That amounted to 12.

Because the Cowboys released Cundiff almost immediately during preseason, they were eligible to re-sign Cundiff after 10 weeks of the regular season. The 10th week expired Monday night following the Philadelphia game.

The Cowboys hope Cundiff can bring a little more consistency to a position that has seen some ups and downs already this season.

In three years with the Cowboys, Cundiff made 55 of 74 fieldgoal attempts and all but one of his 87 extra point tries. Cundiff has also hit a few game-winners and other clutch kicks during his career with the Cowboys.

His 52-yard field goal against the Giants in 2003 was not only his sixth field goal of the game, but forced overtime. He then hit a 25-yard kick to give the Cowboys a 35-32 win that included a NFL-tying record seven field goals.

Cundiff also hit game-winning field goals in St. Louis [48 yards] in 2002 and then to beat the Eagles at home in 2003 with a 28-yard field goal.

After Cundiff was hurt, the Cowboys were left with veteran Jose Cortez, who had been signed in the middle of August, mostly just to give Cundiff a break from kicking every day in training camp.

But when Cundiff suffered the injury and was waived Aug. 24, the Cowboys were left with Cortez, who had been erratic during his career with the 49ers.

The Cowboys released Cortez the following Monday after the Seahawks defeat, and signed Suisham, who had spent time earlier in the season on the practice squad.



Following is Jake Sullivan's e-mail explanation of why he turned down an opportunity to be the TV commentator on a number of Iowa State men's basketball games this season:

"..... I have turned down the color job due to my demanding committment to All Iowa Attack Basketball. This has been the toughest decision of my life, but I believe God's hand is leading me in this direction. My goal in this world is to impact young lives and that is where my focus currently lies.

"Please know how thankful I am for the opportunity.


"Jake Sullivan"

Sullivan [wearing the coat and tie] will be replaced by former Cyclone women's player Kelly Hanfelt for the Nov. 26 Iowa State-Iona game. Sullivan turned down the commentator job two weeks after saying he would take it.



It doesn't get any better for Iowa's football team than it got today at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.

The Hawkeyes clobbered Minnesota, 52-28, and kept possesion of Floyd of Rosedale, the bronze pig that's awarded to the winning team in the series.

"So much of football is mental," Minnesota coach Glen Mason [upper right] said. "You always look at why? I don't know why. Did you perform well? No. Why? I don't know."

Floyd didn't know either. But he also didn't care. All that mattered was that he's going to spend another winter in Iowa City.