‘Serious and focused’: Bears CB Kyle Fuller a focus for Round 2 vs. Packers

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Packers receivers Geronimo Allison catches a touchdown pass in front of the Bears’ Kyle Fuller in Week 1. | Jeffrey Phelps/AP photo

Once a week, cornerback Prince Amukamara and his wife have dinner with Kyle Fuller. Afterward, Amukamara often has to explain his fellow cornerback to her.

“My wife always says, ‘Gosh, I don’t really get Kyle yet. I can’t -really put a hand on him,’ ” Amukamara said with a smile. “He definitely keeps to himself, but when he opens up, he’s very genuine and authentic.”

Amukamara gets Fuller, and so do the Bears. As Amukamara shared his dinner story, Fuller and outside linebacker Khalil Mack were directly across from him in the locker room, sharing a laugh over something on one of their phones.

This season, Fuller also has been gracious with the media. He’s interviewed several times each week in the locker room at Halas Hall.

But Fuller would rather let his play do the talking for him. This year, he’s playing at a level worthy of accolades, whether it’s getting an expected Pro Bowl nod next week or being named first-team All-Pro.

“He’s someone who is serious and focused,” Amukamara said.

Fuller will be a focal point again Sunday. If the Bears are going to defeat quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers and win the NFC North, it’ll be partly because of another All-Pro performance from Fuller.

Sunday also provides Fuller with a chance at redemption.

In Week 1, Fuller dropped a tipped pass from Rodgers with 2:36 left and the Bears ahead by six points. An interception would have helped preserve a season-opening victory.

Instead, Rodgers hit receiver Randall Cobb over the middle two plays later, and Cobb raced 75 yards into the end zone for a dramatic 24-23 victory.

When did Fuller get over his missed interception?

“Next day,” he said. “It’s very easy. You have to have a short memory. I think it’s just natural for me.”

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Fuller also was beaten by receiver Geronimo Allison for a 39-yard touchdown catch in the corner of the end zone on the third play of the fourth quarter in that game. Rodgers’ throw was immaculate, sailing right over Fuller’s fingertips.

What has Fuller learned about playing against Rodgers over his five-year career?

“How good he is,” he said. “And how good and disciplined you have to be.”

Fuller’s story has changed since Week 1. His play is proving that the Bears were right in their decision to match the Packers’ four-year, $56 million offer.

Fuller is tied with the Dolphins’ Xavien Howard for the NFL lead with seven interceptions. He also leads the league with 19 pass breakups after making 22 last season.

“Last year, he didn’t get as much recognition as he should, and this year, he finally is,” Amukamara said. “We’re all happy for him, and we’re not surprised. Kyle watches hours and hours and hours and hours of film, and it’s paying off.”

Amukamara and safety Eddie Jackson might be the vocal leaders of the secondary, but Fuller clearly fills the lead-by-example role. Secondary coach Ed Donatell noticed a difference in Fuller’s study habits last season.

“When he makes a play, it’s something he’s earned through his preparation and the way he leads his team,” Donatell said. “He painfully studies the people, so when he goes out, he’s prepared.”

Fuller, though, doesn’t need to watch hours upon hours of film to know that Rodgers has thrown only one interception this season.

In Week 4, Bills safety Jordan Poyer picked off Rodgers’ pass over the middle, but it went off the hands of tight end Jimmy Graham first.

“It just shows good he is,” Fuller said, “and how good of a position you have to be in.”

Again, Fuller would know. He should have made the first interception on Rodgers back in September.

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