KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Will Shields was only a couple of years into his career as a guard for the Kansas City Chiefs when, during a game against the Browns in Cleveland, injuries gave his team a dire need for an emergency left tackle.
Shields shifted positions seamlessly, accounting well for himself and his team for the rest of that afternoon.
That’s the kind of 14-year career Shields had for the Chiefs, a run that ended with the 2006 season. Shields played a most unglamorous position, guard, but did whatever it was the Chiefs asked of him and did it well.
If the Chiefs needed him to pull and lead for a sweep or get out and block a linebacker, Shields was athletic enough to do it well. If they needed him to wrestle with a 300-plus-pound defensive tackle in pass protection, Shields could handle that nicely, too.
Shields did it all well enough to be named to the Pro Bowl 12 times. He did it well enough to deserve entry this year into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which announces this year’s selections on Saturday.
Shields, one of the finalists, might not get in this year. The competition is difficult, and Shields doesn’t have the one shiny thing that seems to get the attraction of the voters every year: None of his teams participated in a Super Bowl.
Shields is hardly to blame for that. If every one of his teammates did their jobs as well as Shields did his, he would have a fistful of rings. If not this year then eventually, Shields deserves in.