The most decorated interior offensive lineman in NFL history, Will Shields should’ve been a first ballot Hall Of Fame selection when he became a finalist in 2012. Shields name has risen again in the ballots for the class of 2014 and there shouldn’t be any doubt about him giving his speech this summer in Canton, Ohio.
Shields attended college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he played for the Cornhuskers football team from 1989-1992. He was a consensus first-team All American guard and the winner of the Outland Trophy in his senior season. Shields career was so illustrious with Nebraska that he’s one of only 16 players in the schools history to have his jersey retired. In 2011, he capped it all off when he was inducted into the College Football Hall Of Fame. But this is only where it begins.
He was selected in the third round, (74th overall) by the Chiefs in the 1993 NFL Draft. The Chiefs front office knew that they had a great player coming in, but their is no way they could’ve anticipated what Shields was going accomplish in his long, illustrious NFL career.
Will Shields didn’t start in only one game of his career, his first. Shields started every single game the rest of his career and didn’t sit out one single game due to injury, illness, or anything else you can think of. He played in 231 consecutive games, including playoffs, in his 14 year career, something that is completely remarkable if you think about how much of a beating a person takes in the trenches.
Shields made his first Pro-Bowl in 1995 and he never looked back, making the AFC team 12 years in a row and started in all of them. He’s tied with Champ Bailey and Randall McDaniel for most Pro-Bowls played. Wouldn’t that be nice, knowing what you and your family will be doing in late February for 12 years straight. He’s an 8x All Pro selection (1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006) which is an even higher honor than the Pro-Bowl and was named to the All Decades team of the 2000’s.
He blocked for a 1,000 yard rusher five times, and a 4,000 yard passer five times as well before he announced his retirement in April of 2007. He played along side legends like Marcus Allen, Joe Montana, Tony Gonzalez, Willie Roaf and Tony Richardson, all of which are or, soon-to-be Hall Of Fame players. But for everything great Shields has done on the field, he’s answered just as greatly off of it.
In 2003, the Chiefs were having one of the best seasons on the field in the franchises history. But one of the things that stands out most from that season was Will Shields being named the Walter Payton man of the year award, an honor that is given to a player for their contributions off the field through charity work or things they’ve done for their communities. Shields was awarded for his foundation, “Will To Succeed,” a charity he started in 1993 that helps the less fortunate in the KC metro area by providing assistance and resources to individuals and families who cannot find aid elsewhere. Shields has remained in Kansas City where he operates his 68 Inside Sports, a gym he started that now has a couple locations in the Overland Park area.
In 2012, Will Shields was inducted into the Kansas City Chiefs Hall Of Fame, an honor that couldn’t have come soon enough for him. The only thing left to cap off his career is his enshrinement to the Pro-Football Hall Of Fame. The NFL announced the 15 finalists for the 2014 class, and Shields name made the cut again.
On Feb 1st, a group of 46 writers will come together and make their selections for this years class. The Hall Of Fame selection committee stipulates that the number of modern-day inductees is capped at five. This means a maximum of seven players can be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame each year. The number usually falls between four and seven and Will Shields should definitely be a part of 2014.
Shields would become the 11th Chiefs member in the HOF, and the 14th guard in the modern era selections. His numbers tell the story and his enshrinement is surely eminent. So the question for the committee is this, why wait?