Kendall Fuller still hasn’t had a full year in the Chiefs organization, and that may help insulate him from any feelings of past playoff pain. Even if it didn’t, Fuller does a pretty good job insulating himself from everything going on outside of the football facility.
Well, with the exception of food.
As far as wanting to prove something to critics of the Chiefs’ 31st-ranked defense (in yards allowed per game) when they host the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium, that’s not even on his mind. Fuller insisted it wasn’t extra motivation for him or his teammates.
They are their own critics and set their own standards.
“We don’t play to shut anybody up,” Fuller said, wearing a black brace on his right hand as he continues to recover from surgery that took place on Dec. 14.
Instead, Fuller and his teammates approach the game as any other week on and off the field. Despite their defensive struggles, they do enter the NFL playoffs as the top seed in the AFC.
“For us, it’s another week,” Fuller said. “Yeah, it’s the playoffs, but it’s another week. We’re preparing the same way.
“My teammates laugh at me because every week I eat a certain place for dinner. Every Monday, I’m eating this. Every Tuesday, I’m eating this. Every Wednesday, I’m eating this. For me it’s the same thing. Monday, I’m eating this. Tuesday (and so on). You get so locked into the routine and schedule that every week is the same.”
In the tight-lipped community of the NFL locker room, where strategy and injury status are guarded like government secrets, Fuller’s weekly routine provided the default breaking news of the day out of Chiefs camp.
After all, the routine is what keeps him calm and sane while fans and outsiders get overwhelmed by history and possible outcomes.
So on Monday, it’s a burnt ends burger from Q39.
Tuesday, just a salad from The Mixx.
Wednesday, The Mixx again, “because the salad is so good, but Wednesday I add the fries to it,” Fuller said.
Friday, Bristol SeaFood Grill, but just appetizers (mussels, oysters) — no main courses. “I’m a Maryland guy, so I love seafood,” Fuller said.
Of course, the schedule is a bit skewed this week because Fuller’s typical plans revolve around a Sunday game. This week, the Chiefs play on Saturday.
“It’s Tuesday, but today is really Wednesday,” Fuller said referring to the game-week schedule being shifted. “So today, I am eating The Mixx.”
At one point, someone asked about Saturday’s meal, and Fuller asked, “Real Saturday or fake Saturday?”
While the eating habits of the Chiefs’ starting corner created a jovial atmosphere and a break from the questions about past playoff blunders, Fuller takes this serious enough that he allows “nothing” to budge him from his routine.
The third-year pro’s strict adherence to a schedule means one less thing to think about.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid is a well-known creature of habit. The team’s practice and travel schedules usually reflect Reid’s affinity for routine. When asked if Fuller ever brought Reid along to dinner, the defensive back smiled and shook his head as he let out a elongated, “Nahhh. I never have.”
Fuller spoke with reporters Tuesday for the first time since having surgery on his thumb the day after the Chiefs’ Thursday night loss to the Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium. He missed the loss against the Seattle Seahawks before returning for Kansas City’s regular-season finale against the Oakland Raiders.
“I was close (in Seattle), but I just kind of going out there and I was kind of testing it out against the bag,” Fuller said. “Each time I hit it, I was just more and more painful. I think I was only a couple days out of surgery at that point.
“It’s been getting better week-in and week-out. At this point, It’s just one of those things where we know it’s going to hurt, but just try to protect it the best we can and go out there and get the adrenaline going and just hope you don’t feel it too much.”
Fuller participated fully in practice on Tuesday, while rookie linebacker Dorian O’Daniel sat out with a calf/ankle injury. Safety Eric Berry (heel), running back Spencer Ware (hamstring) and wide receiver Sammy Watkins (foot) were listed as limited participants.