- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Maryland native Kendall Fuller, who began his NFL career with the Washington Redskins, used to tell his Baltimore mom not to come to every home game.

After all, if mom was in the stands, there would be no home-cooked Sunday dinner that day. No collard greens. No macaroni and cheese. No sweet potatoes with marshmallows.

After spending two years in Kansas City, the cornerback who re-upped with the Redskins this offseason is looking forward to game-day dinners in Baltimore again.

“I had to let her know, she’s gonna have to start doing that again,” said Fuller, who signed a four-year, $40 million deal with the Redskins last month.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Fuller said there were “many reasons” beyond mom’s cooking that he was excited to sign with Washington, from coach Ron Rivera’s reputation to playing with his old teammates.

The Redskins traded Fuller away in the 2018 deal for Alex Smith, but Fuller said he doesn’t hold a grudge. He realizes the game is a business, and the Redskins at the time needed a quarterback,

Now the Redskins and Fuller have come full circle, with Washington hoping he’ll provide an upgrade to the team’s porous secondary. Washington struggled in pass coverage last year, particularly in the slot — a spot where Fuller excels.

Fuller, who can play inside and out, said he hasn’t had a conversation with coaches over his role, but added he’s willing to do whatever it takes to win.

“I’m just excited to show my talent,” Fuller said. “Just knowing that I can play anywhere around the field at a high-level, man. Whether that’s corner, nickel. If they ask me to go out there and play a little bit of safety — just being able to go out there and show that versatility.”

Fuller didn’t necessarily anticipate rejoining the Redskins this offseason. Going into free agency for the first time, he said he tried to keep an open mind and not get too excited about a potential destination.

But when Fuller’s agents presented Washington’s offer, the cornerback said he didn’t hesitate — telling them, “Let’s do it.”

Fuller doesn’t see himself as the same player who left Washington, either. Over the past two years, he’s grown more comfortable with his game, with a better understanding of his strengths and weaknesses. Drafted in the third round in 2017 out of Virginia Tech, Fuller said he’s more confident now.

It’s understandable why Fuller feels that way. Just look at what the cornerback has experienced since leaving the Redskins. 

This past February, Fuller grabbed a late-game interception in Super Bowl LIV to seal the Chiefs’ win over the San Francisco 49ers. It was a moment, Fuller said, that didn’t hit him fully until he saw the video later.

Now Fuller knows what it takes to be a champion. It starts with work ethic, he said. And he wants to bring it to Washington.

“My two years in Kansas City, it was almost like we felt like we put way too much work in day in and day out, starting from OTA’s to that (championship),” Fuller said. “It wasn’t an option, not going to the Super Bowl.”

The Chiefs accomplished their goal, and Fuller enjoyed the rewards that came with it. He recalled the joy he felt seeing coach Andy Reid win his first title and fondly remembered the team showering their coach with Gatorade bath after the game.

Fuller was even asked about the parade, which drew 800,000 fans packed along the route.

“Oh it was fun, it was fun,” Fuller said. “We’ve got to get one in D.C.”

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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