Kendall Fuller didn’t choose to change his jersey number on a whim. To him, the No. 29 worn by former Chiefs safety Eric Berry deserved the consideration.
“I definitely know, especially in this community, the responsibility that comes with it,” Fuller said. “It’s going to be fun wearing it.”
Fuller is returning to the number he wore in Washington as a second-year pro in 2017. He started there as No. 38, changed it after his rookie season, and wore No. 23 last season with the Chiefs, when he came to Kansas City in the trade that sent Alex Smith to Washington.
He wore it well. Fuller was a bright spot on a defense that struggled throughout most of the season, finishing 31st in the NFL in total yards and passing yards allowed.
Fuller is up to the challenge of wearing the number of one of the Chiefs’ favorites. Berry spent his first nine NFL seasons in Kansas City, earning three first-team All-Pro honors and universal admiration for his return to competition after conquering Hogdkin’s lymphoma.
Berry was released in March and hasn’t signed with another team. Fuller said he attempted to reach out to Berry but was unsuccessful.
Chiefs fans will have to adjust to some other jersey switches from familiar players. The No. 50 worn by outside linebacker Justin Houston, now with the Indianapolis Colts, now belongs to linebacker Darron Lee.
Dee Ford’s No. 55 is the number of the guy who essentially replaced him, Frank Clark.
Fuller joked that at least he’s likely to see several fans wearing jerseys bearing his number at games next season.
“Everybody’s going to be walking around here with No. 29 for the rest of their lives,” Fuller said. “They’re going to think of EB.”
For Fuller, just slipping into any jersey has been a recent triumph. He suffered a wrist fracture late last season and missed one regular-season game, playing through the injury at the end of the regular season and through two playoff games.
“I kind of made a joke with myself yesterday,” Fuller said. “I was able to put my pads on by myself, so that was the first time I’d done that in a while. I think it was a good test for me. So, otherwise. I haven’t felt it. It’s been feeling good.”