"We have standards and we've got rules and he wasn't there, so internally, we made the decision," Culley said.
It marked the second time this season Cunningham did not play for violating team rules. In Week 2 against the Cleveland Browns, he was benched for the first quarter for recurring tardiness.
Cunningham is not the only player Culley has held out for disciplinary reasons. Earlier this season, cornerback Desmond King was benched in a similar situation. Last Sunday, safety Justin Reid was inactive for violating team rules.
"We have rules, and when the rules are broken ... it doesn't matter who it is," Culley said Nov. 28.
After the loss that dropped Houston to 2-10, Culley said he was "disappointed" and surprised" he is still having to discipline players for violating team rules.
Cunningham, a second-round pick in 2017, signed a four-year, $58 million contract extension in 2020. The linebacker has 67 tackles and one forced fumble this season.