Chiefs’ atmosphere led to G Paul Fanaika signing

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Comfort and an opportunity to work with a familiar face played a major role in guard Paul Fanaika’s decision to sign with the Chiefs.

Fanaika said he drew interest from other teams when he hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent following two seasons as the starting right guard for the Arizona Cardinals.

Aug 24, 2014; Glendale, AZ; Then-Cardinals guard Paul Fanaika (74) on the sidelines at University of Phoenix Stadium. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Aug 24, 2014; Glendale, AZ; Then-Cardinals guard Paul Fanaika (74) on the sidelines at University of Phoenix Stadium. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

But the Chiefs proved the most attractive.

“I could just feel that Kansas City wanted me the most,” Fanaika said during a Friday conference call with Chiefs beat writers. “So it’s definitely good to come into a situation where you’re wanted. You know you’re going to be appreciated there.

“It just felt comfortable, something about the idea of playing for Kansas City and living in this area just seemed appealing to me. So that definitely helped me decide.”

Reuniting with the head coach who drafted him in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft was the added bonus for Fanaika.

“We were starting to get to know each other,” Fanaika said of his time with Andy Reid in Philadelphia. “He drafted me. I was a rookie and I was there for a majority of the season back in 2009 on the practice squad. We had a pretty good relationship.”

Fanaika was signed off the Eagles practice squad by Washington, and then had stops with the Cleveland Browns (2010) and Seattle Seahawks (2011-12) before landing in Arizona.

The 6-5, 327-pound Fanaika started 30 games for the Cardinals the past two seasons, but it appears the Chiefs aren’t handed him a starting job despite his three-year, $8.1 million contract.

Recently acquired Ben Grubbs projects at left guard, leaving the door open for a potential battle between Fanaika and Zach Fulton, who started all 16 games as a rookie at right guard in 2014.

“There is always going to be competition, especially in the offseason,” Fanaika said. “Nothing is for certain. They might have it one way now, but the depth chart could completely be different come training camp and when the season comes.”