Cousins gets surprise call of praise from White House

October 11, 2019

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins delivered a 306-yard, two-touchdown, no-turnover performance in a bounce-back win on the road over the New York Giants last week. It followed one of the worst games of his career in a defeat at Chicago.

Cousins drew the predictable praise from his team afterward, but he also caught the attention of a certain commander in chief.

He received a text message from his agent, Mike McCartney, who'd been contacted by the White House about President Donald Trump's desire to speak to Cousins, the former Washington Redskins quarterback he'd once played a round of golf with at one of his clubs in New Jersey.

"I said, 'Are you serious?' with a question mark, thinking it was a joke and I was going to call some prank number," Cousins said. "He said, 'No, very.' So I just called them on the bus heading to the airport. I didn't know. I was calling the White House, and they just said, 'Hold for the president.' It was just a 30-second call saying congratulations, and that was it. Very out of the blue, very random, but when the president calls, I don't care who it is, left, right, whatever, down the middle, if he says, 'Call me,' I'm going to give him a call and see what he needs, see what he wants."

So why would Trump bother to reach out after a rather routine regular-season game? Well, he had a rally scheduled in downtown Minneapolis on Thursday night, so Minnesota was likely on his mind. Perhaps Trump was hoping the local NFL quarterback would join him to help fire up the crowd, but Cousins said the subject of Trump's appearance did not come up in their conversation. He had no plan to attend.

Still, the current president has been a source of consternation for some players in the league. Coach Mike Zimmer was asked whether he worried about such a connection, even in an apparently innocuous and brief phone call, creating tension in the locker room.

"I'm not in charge of all those political things. I'm staying out of that," Zimmer said. "I don't really get into it. I'm a football coach. It's what I do."

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