Gunther Cunningham has been through this before.
Thirteen years ago, when Cunningham was head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, rumors swirled about his future as his team lost six of its final eight games to stumble out of the playoff race.
Cunningham went to work the day after the season ended -- on Christmas Day -- like normal, even as people around him told him he was crazy.
"I said, 'Why? That's my job,'" Cunningham recalled Friday.
This week, with Jim Schwartz's return as Lions coach in doubt and Schwartz's entire staff bracing for what's possible, Cunningham said he has taken a business-as-usual approach to the week while preparing his defense for Sunday's season finale against the Minnesota Vikings.
"I try not to think about those things," Cunningham said. "I'll be honest with you, people do, but I just walk away. I don't want to hear it. I don't want to think about it. I never have. I never will. I just keep coaching."
Cunningham, 67, said he has no plans to retire after the season, while Schwartz, who's 29-50 in five seasons as Lions coach, did not directly answer questions about his future Friday.
Asked if he has received any clarity from management about his status, Schwartz said, "I've got too much respect for the game on Sunday" to talk about that. He offered a similar answer when asked when he'd like an answer about his future.
"It's about the players that are going to be on the field; it's about building a game plan, practicing this week," he said. "And that's what our full attention's on. Any other things -- and, like I said, coaches are no different than players. There's a lot of players that are in the last year of their contract or whatever situation comes up. We're all paid to put that stuff aside and to go out and do the very best we can this week, and that's what we have done."
Cunningham added: "That's what these players are doing. They're practicing, preparing, and we had a great practice today; we had a good one yesterday and an excellent one on Wednesday. So everybody's in tune. We got to go play the game. That's all that should be on my mind."
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