Notebook: Zach Fulton ready if called upon to start at center

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Second-year offensive lineman Zach Fulton has been a jack of all trades in 2015, starting three games at right guard, two at left guard and one at center.

Dec. 13, 2015; Kansas City, MO; Chiefs offensive lineman Zach Fulton (73) combines with center Mitch Morse (61) to block San Diego Chargers defensive end Darius Philon (93) from quarterback Alex Smith (11) at Arrowhead Stadium. (Emily DeShazer/The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Dec. 13, 2015; Kansas City, MO; Chiefs offensive lineman Zach Fulton (73) combines with center Mitch Morse (61) to block San Diego Chargers defensive end Darius Philon (93) from quarterback Alex Smith (11) at Arrowhead Stadium. (Emily DeShazer/The Topeka Capital-Journal)

He could get a second start at center on Saturday if Mitch Morse, who is dealing with a concussion, can’t play.

And Fulton, who also started at center in the final preseason game, has the confidence should the Chiefs turn to him.

“Just having that preseason game and other games here and there when Mitch got hurt and I had to go in and step in at center, it really helped me a lot with my confidence playing that position,” Fulton said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity I got and things I learned playing center this past camp.”

Morse didn’t practice Tuesday and Wednesday, and the Chiefs elevated rookie center Daniel Munyer from the practice squad to the active roster on Tuesday.

Those factors arguably point to the Chiefs preparing to be without Morse, but the playoff atmosphere won’t get too big for Fulton, who said he approaches every week like he’s starting.

And he is accustomed to filling in as needed.

“During college, I did a few practice reps at center as well as tackle, too,” Fulton said. “I’ve just been all over the place my whole career, really.”

NO CALLS

Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson’s name has been linked to the Philadelphia Eagles, with some national reports indicating definitively he will interview for the head coach job.

There’s an apparent hiccup, however, specifically Pederson’s response Wednesday to a reporter when asked directly if he has received calls for interviews.

“I have not, no,” Pederson said.

That Pederson would be linked to the Eagles job left vacant by the recent firing of Chip Kelly comes as no surprise.

He served on Andy Reid’s staff with the Eagles as an offensive quality control coach (2009-10) and quarterbacks coach (2011-12). Pederson also served as a backup quarterback for the Eagles under Reid in 1999.

The Chiefs are set to play in the first round of the playoffs, meaning Pederson wouldn’t be available to interview. But if the Chiefs lose, Pederson would be available to interview.

RETURNER OPTIONS

The Chiefs offered a different look on kickoff returns in the season finale when rookie wide receiver Chris Conley took the field to field the kicks, not running back Knile Davis.

Special teams coordinator Dave Toub took a moment Wednesday to explain the move.

“Well, I wanted to give Conley one, and usually when I start Knile, and I get him in the game, I end up going back to him,” Toub said. “I wanted to get Conley one so I put him in there right away. That was the whole deal on that.”

Conley fielded one kick and returned it 14 yards, while logging 19 total snaps on special teams.

Davis, who finished the regular season with 24 returns for 603 yards (25.1 yards per return), totaled six snaps on special teams in the season finale.

“We have two guys,” Toub said. “The way I look at it is we have two guys that can do it.”

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Herbie Teope is the lead Chiefs beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com and The Topeka Capital-Journal. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @HerbieTeope.

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