KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The Kansas City Chiefs locked up running back Jamaal Charles with a contract extension in training camp. Now, they've ensured his lead blocker will be around for a while.
The Chiefs signed fullback Anthony Sherman to a three-year contract extension Wednesday that could keep him in Kansas City through the 2017 season. The deal will pay the bruising lead blocker up to $7 million, according to a person familiar with the contract.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because terms were not disclosed.
''It was definitely good to get out of the way,'' said Sherman, who was due to be a free agent after this season. ''You just know you're wanted somewhere, and it's a good feeling that someone wants you to stay here and play for them.''
Sherman has started 21 of the 51 games he's played over the past four seasons. The past two have been spent in Kansas City, where he has paved the way for Charles and fellow running back Knile Davis to give the Chiefs one of the NFL's top rushing offenses.
Charles, whose two-year extension also keeps him in Kansas City through 2017, ran for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. He's run for 435 yards and five scores this season.
Sherman isn't just a blocker, though. Over the past few years as Sherman has developed into a reliable short-yardage receiver. The former UConn star caught 36 passes for 315 yards and two TDs during two seasons with Arizona and his last season-plus in Kansas City.
''I really don't think there's a guy in this locker room that's not happy for him,'' Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said. ''So selfless, team guy, team first. We move him around, it doesn't matter. You can ask him to go out there and play any position and he'd do it.''
The fact that the Chiefs were eager to lock him up speaks volumes of his value to the team.
In the modern, pass-happy NFL, some franchises no longer carry a fullback on their roster. But his ability to pick up the blitz, block in pass protection and still clear the way for Charles and Davis in the running game make Sherman nearly indispensable.
''In this offense, which isn't the case in a lot of offenses in today's football, the fullback ends up being an important part of that,'' Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. ''And with that, they've got to be a good blocker and they've also got to be able to catch the football. He can do all of that and on top of that be a good special teams player.
''He's also one of the leaders on the football team,'' Reid said. ''He kind of covers a bunch of bases there, but most of all he's a good football player.''
Indeed, perhaps the most valuable thing Sherman brings to the team isn't even evident on game day. His light-hearted personality and acerbic wit keeps things light in the locker room.
''I mean, that's part of it. He has an infectious personality,'' Smith said. ''He's fun to have around. He loves the game of football. Loves his teammates. So that's infectious, and part of it is him being a really, really good player as well, a guy that can do it all.''
Notes: Chiefs WR Donnie Avery was on the field for the portion of practice open to reporters Wednesday. He's been out since having surgery for a sports hernia after a Week 4 win over New England. ... CB Chris Owens (knee) and LB Joe Mays (wrist) were also on the practice field. Owens has missed the past three games and Mays has been out since training camp. ... The Chiefs signed DT Hebron Fangupo to the practice squad. OL Jarrod Pughsley was released.
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