AFC West: Will Shields

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs went 0-3 Saturday night when it comes to NFL awards. Not only was former offensive lineman Will Shields not selected for the Hall of Fame, but Andy Reid failed to win coach of the year, and Jamaal Charles is not the offensive player of the year.

Reid
Charles
I've made my thoughts clear on Shields. Perhaps his time will come next year.

As spectacular as Charles was this season, it's difficult to argue that he deserved offensive player of the year more than Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, so that one isn't a surprise. By the way, Charles finished third in the voting. Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy was second.

That leaves Reid, who finished second to Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers. This season had a few strong candidates: Reid, Rivera, Mike McCoy of the San Diego Chargers, Chip Kelly of the Philadelphia Eagles and Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots.

Reid and Rivera were the strongest of candidates. I get the arguments for Rivera. He is a worthy choice. Tough call, but I went for Reid, and here's why:

No doubt there was more to like about Carolina's body of work this season. The Panthers won their division. Kansas City was 10-0 against non-playoff teams and 1-5 against teams that made the postseason. But I still believe the Chiefs traveled a longer distance. Reid did more than help the Chiefs win games. He helped change what had been the miserable, rotten culture that permeated the entire organization. When he walked in the door, the Chiefs were infested with people who pulled in different directions and were out for themselves. He got everybody to believe in the greater good. He was able to get a lot of players to put aside personal goals for those of the team.

So Reid and Shields were the real losers in the group.

Will Shields must wait another year

February, 1, 2014
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs won't have a 2014 entrant into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Former offensive lineman Will Shields was a finalist but was not one of the players voted into the Hall on Saturday.

Shields
Shields, a 12-time Pro Bowl guard, deserves to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He was one of the great offensive linemen of his era and played for some great Chiefs teams. Their offensive lines of the early 2000s with Shields at right guard were among the best in NFL history.

But Shields played an unglamorous position, the Chiefs never reached the Super Bowl during his 14 seasons between 1993 and 2006 and he was competing with a strong group of finalists this year, the third he was eligible for Hall of Fame selection. He has no stats that can make his case so like any great offensive lineman he was best appreciated by those able to see him year after year, game after game, down after down.

Shields will be overdue for selection to the Hall in 2015. He is the fourth offensive lineman in NFL history to be selected to play in 12 or more Pro Bowl games. The others are Bruce Matthews, Randall McDaniel and Jim Otto and each has already been inducted to the Hall of Fame.

Next year should be Shields' turn.
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.

Will Shields deserves Hall induction

January, 10, 2014
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Former Kansas City Chiefs guard Will Shields is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the third time. He is competing with a strong group, so Shields may have to wait at least another year to get in.

But Shields deserves to be a Hall of Famer, whether it's this year or some time in the future.

Shields played perhaps the most unglamorous of positions, so he doesn't have any stats to prove his value. He also doesn't have any Super Bowl appearances or world championship rings, which leads me to my major complaint about the Hall and how its balloting is tilted toward those who happened to play on great teams.

Football is the ultimate team game, and more than in any other major sport, individual players and particularly linemen don't have the tremendous effect on winning and losing. But it certainly wasn't Shields' fault that the Chiefs never played in the Super Bowl during his 14 seasons. He certainly played to that level.

Shields never missed a game in those 14 years and was selected to play in the Pro Bowl 12 times. Those alone aren't reasons to put Shields in the Hall, but they're the only numbers linemen have.

Like any lineman, Shields was best appreciated by seeing him week after week, game after game, down after down. He was a key part of those great Chiefs offensive lines from the early and mid-2000s. Even if you don't appreciate watching offensive line play, you would have with that group. Alongside Willie Roaf, Brian Waters, Casey Wiegmann and John Tait, Shields was part of a line that was poetry in motion.

That may not be good enough for Shields. If he doesn't get into the Hall soon, his contributions will soon be lost in the fog of time and fade away.

Except to those of us who had the privilege of watching him game after game, play after play.

No AFC West Hall of Fame shockers

February, 2, 2013
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There weren’t any AFC West surprises Saturday when the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame class was announced.

Curley Culp and Warren Sapp were the favorites of the four finalists with AFC West ties, and they ended up in the Hall of Fame class. Former Oakland receiver Tim Brown and former Kansas City guard Will Shields did not get into the final 10. They were both considered long shots.

Culp, a senior committee nominee, played his first seven of a 16-year career in Kansas City. Sapp played his final four seasons in Oakland. Sapp did little with the Raiders and will always be remembered as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer.

Culp does have legitimate AFC West ties. He was a key part of the Chiefs’ Super Bowl IV-winning team. He was considered the first real 3-4 nose tackle. Culp is in the Chiefs Hall of Fame, and he participates in alumni programs. His election Saturday will be embraced and celebrated in Kansas City.

“On behalf of the entire Chiefs family, we’d like to congratulate Curley Culp on his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said in a statement. “Curley was a dominating force on the defensive line for the Super Bowl IV championship team and one of many great players that helped build the tradition and foundation of the Kansas City Chiefs. … We look forward to seeing him take his rightful place in Canton.”

Saturday’s developments are disappointing for Brown and Shields, but there are silver linings for both. Cris Carter finally gained election, so the receiver logjam lessened. I still think Andre Reed might get in before Brown.

There has been some chatter that Brown’s recent comments that former Oakland coach Bill Callahan “sabotaged” the team’s Super Bowl loss to the Buccaneers 10 years ago might have hurt his chances. Brown was considered a long shot prior to causing that firestorm.

Shields was likely blocked by first-year nominee Larry Allen, who gained election. With Allen in, I can see Shields getting elected in the next couple of years.
Saturday is an important day in the AFC West.

Major 2012 season individual awards will be given and the 2013 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame will be announced.

Peterson
Manning
One of the key events will be the announcement of the NFL MVP award. Denver quarterback Peyton Manning and Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson are the primary candidates for the award. They are also the top candidates for the Offensive Player of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year awards.

The Manning-Peterson debate has raged on for the past few months. Manning led Denver to a 13-3 record after sitting out the 2011 season because of a neck injury that required four surgeries. Peterson finished nine yards short of setting the NFL single-season rushing record -- after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee late in the 2011 season.

Peterson has been stumping hard for the MVP award, while Manning has been quiet in his campaign. Manning has an NFL-record four MVP awards. Manning and Peterson should both go home with some hardware Saturday.

Denver linebacker Von Miller, meanwhile, is a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. However, Houston’s J.J. Watt is considered the favorite.

Earlier Saturday, the Hall of Fame class will be announced. Four of the 17 finalists have AFC West ties: former Kansas City defensive tackle Curley Culp, former Raiders receiver Tim Brown, former Kansas City guard Will Shields and defensive tackle Warren Sapp, who ended his career in Oakland. Sapp and Culp are considered the favorites of those four to gain entry to the Hall of Fame this season.

Please check back Saturday for news and analysis on all of the developments pertaining to the AFC West.

AFC West Hall of Fame finalists

January, 11, 2013
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The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its 17 finalists for enshrinement. The enshrinement vote will be held February 2.

Let’s take a look at the four candidates among the 17 who spent significant portions of their careers in the AFC West. Here they are:

Tim Brown, WR -- 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders

Will he get in? Brown will get in, but it might take some more time because of the logjam at receiver, whether it’s right or not.

Curly Culp, DT -- 1968-1974 Kansas City Chiefs

Will he get in? He is a Senior Committee nominee. Much more often than not, Senior Committee nominees get elected.

Warren Sapp, DT – 2004-07 Oakland Raiders

Will he get in? I’d be surprised if he doesn’t make it in his first year on the ballot.

Will Shields, G -- 1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs

Will he get in? The presence of Larry Allen on the list could hurt Shields.

AFC West HOF semifinalists

November, 30, 2012
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The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its 27 semifinalists for enshrinement in 2012. The list of 27 will be pared to 17 finalists in January, and the enshrinement vote will be held in February.

Let’s take a look at the nine candidates among the 27 who spent significant portions of their careers in the AFC West. Here they are:

Steve Atwater, S, -- 1989-98 Denver Broncos

Will he get in? He might be getting closer, but this year might be tough.

Tim Brown, WR -- 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders

Will he get in? Brown will get in, but it might take some more time because of the logjam at receiver, whether it’s right or not.

Don Coryell, coach -- 1978-86 San Diego Chargers

Will he get in? The late coach has his supporters, but it won’t be easy.

Terrell Davis, RB -- 1995-2001 Denver Broncos.

Will he get in? Davis’ short career remains his biggest challenge.

Albert Lewis, CB – 1983-93 Kansas City Chiefs, 1994-98 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders

Will he get in? Nice to see him make this list for the first time, but it might be tough.

John Lynch, S – 2004-07 Denver Broncos

Will he get in? Hard hitter will likely get in soon, if not this year.

Karl Mecklenburg, LB -- 1983-1994 Denver Broncos

Will he get in? I’d call him a big longshot to make it in 2013.

Warren Sapp, DT – 2004-07 Oakland Raiders

Will he get in? I’d be surprised if he doesn’t make it in his first year on the ballot.

Will Shields, G -- 1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs

Will he get in? I have a good feeling about Shields in his second year of eligibility.
The NFL announced that former players will announce their team’s second- and third-round draft picks Friday from Radio City Music Hall in New York.

Here are the AFC West representatives:

Denver: Running back Terrell Davis.

Kansas City: Guard Will Shields

Oakland: Cornerback Willie Brown

San Diego: Center Courtney Hall.

The NFL started the program last year.

Chiefs to honor Will Shields

March, 3, 2012
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Will Shields is going into a hall of fame this year, after all.

Four weeks after being a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Chiefs announced the guard will go into their hall of fame this season.

Shields played for the Chiefs from 1993-2006. He played in 224 games, the most in team history. He played in 12 Pro Bowls.

“On behalf of my family and the entire Chiefs organization, we are extremely proud to announce Will Shields’ election into the Chiefs Hall of Fame,” Kansas City owner Clark Hunt said. “Will was a true ‘iron man’ -- never missing a game in 14 seasons -- and his career and character place him among the greatest in Chiefs history.”

Shields has a strong chance to make it in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the next couple of years.

In other AFC West notes:

If the Raiders do cut pass-rusher Kamerion Wimbley in a salary-cap move, keep an eye on the Chiefs. They could use another pass-rusher and Wimbley played for Kansas City coach Romeo Crennel in Cleveland. Crennel was not with the Browns when they traded him to Oakland two years ago. Plus, Wimbley and Crennel have the same agent.

Baltimore cut cornerback Chris Carr. He could be an inexpensive role player for the Raiders, who have a big need at cornerback. He also has previously played for Oakland.
Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt released a statement congratulating tackle Willie Roaf for being elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Roaf played his final four seasons with the Chiefs from 2002-05.

Here is Hunt’s statement:

“On behalf of my family and the entire Chiefs organization, we are thrilled to congratulate Willie Roaf on his well-deserved selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2012. Willie is one of the finest offensive lineman to suit up in a Chiefs uniform and is worthy of this extremely prestigious honor. In his four seasons with the Chiefs, Willie anchored one of the best offensive lines in the National Football League. Today's announcement solidifies his place as one of the greatest offensive lineman in the history of pro football.”

Kansas City guard Will Shields and Oakland receiver Tim Brown were also among the 17 finalists, but they did not get elected.
Willie Roaf is going to Canton, Ohio.

However, two other players with AFC West ties will have to continue waiting to be enshrined. Tim Brown and Will Shields did not make the cut from the initial list of 17 finalists to the final 10.

Unlike Roaf, who played the final four seasons of his career in Kansas City, both Brown and Shields are most known for their work in the AFC West.

I expected Shields to get in, but he may have been blocked by Roaf. Shields may take the same route that Roaf did. He was a finalist in his first year of eligibility, but didn’t make it. He made it in his second year of eligibility.

I can see Shields making it next year. He went to 12 Pro Bowls and he made 223 straight starts, which was the second-longest active streak in the NFL at the time of his retirement.

I was not shocked Brown didn’t make it for the third straight year. He certainly deserves to be in the Hall of Fame and he will have a bronze bust someday. But it may take a while.

The voters didn't do him any favors Saturday. None of the six men elected were receivers. Cris Carter and Andre Reed will need to get in some day as well and Brown may have to wait for them to get in first.

As for Roaf, he is a strong representative for the AFC West.

Roaf, who started his career with New Orleans, made the Pro Bowl 11 teams and he made the All-Pro team seven times. He made it three times with the Chiefs. Roaf and Shields were the anchors of one of the most dominated offensive line in the NFL early last decade.

Perhaps next year Shields will join Roaf, his former teammate, in Canton.
Will Shields has done a pretty good job of trying to keep his mind off of this Saturday’s events in Indianapolis.

[+] EnlargeWill Shields
John Rieger/US PresswireGuard Will Shields was a Pro Bowler 12 times during his career.
Yet, he admits the idea of being voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame can be an overwhelming thought.

“It’s nothing to be nonchalant about; it’s huge,” said the former Kansas City Chiefs guard. “It would be a great ending to a great career. It is really a big deal, but you don’t want to dwell on it and over think about it.”

There is a good chance Shields will need to start thinking about his Hall of Fame acceptance speech. Shields is one of 17 finalists for election into the Canton, Ohio, museum. It is Shields’ first year on the ballot. He is considered to have a strong chance to be inducted. Former Raiders receiver Tim Brown and tackle Willie Roaf -- who played with Shields for four years in Kansas City -- are also former AFC West players who are finalists. All three have a chance to make it, but Shields may have the best chance of the three AFC West finalists to be inducted.

Shields, 40, played for the Chiefs from 1993-2006. The Fort Riley, Kan., native was a third-round draft pick out of Nebraska. He started every game of his career but the first game of his rookie season. His streak of 223 straight starts was the second-longest active streak in the NFL at the time of his retirement. Shields made 12 Pro Bowls, which is one of the highest totals of all time regardless of position.

As strong as his résumé was on the field, it was as extraordinary off the field. Shields was known as one of the most charitable players in the NFL in his era and he was won the prestigious NFL Man of the Year award in 2003.

"Looking back, I think I’m most proud of everything as a combination,” Shields said of his proudest NFL moment. “The Pro Bowls, the streak, the Man of the Year. All of it was special to me.”

Shields has continued his chartable work in the Kansas City area and he runs a gym and performance center where he said his company trains “kindergartners to an 89-year-old” in the area.

Shields said he is seriously considering getting involved in coaching. He has spent the past two summers interning with the New York Jets and he has coached at some college all-star games in addition to training some NFL prospects in recent years.

“I think I might be getting into coaching sooner than later,” Shields said. “I always want to be around the game.”

Saturday, Shields may reach football royalty.
Waters & RoafBrian Bahr/Getty ImagesGuard Brian Waters (54) is rooting for his former teammate tackle Willie Roaf (77) to be elected into the Hall of Fame.
Brian Waters couldn’t be happier with his decision to join the New England Patriots.

But as the 12-year NFL veteran prepares for his first Super Bowl, he will allow himself to reflect about his time with the Kansas City Chiefs. In the early part of the last decade, the Chiefs were considered to have the best offensive line in the NFL. Along with Waters, the unit was anchored by fellow guard Will Shields and left tackle Willie Roaf.

While Waters will be in Indianapolis this week to prepare to face the New York Giants in the Super Bowl, Shields and Roaf will be awaiting to see if they will be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Shields and Roaf are among the 17 finalists for election into the Canton, Ohio museum. The vote will be held Saturday, the day before the Super Bowl.

Waters didn’t need to be reminded of the connection.

“I’ve already thought about it,” Waters said in a phone interview. “It’s going to be a special time for all of us. We all have an opportunity to accomplish something we’ve all worked so hard to get. I’m really glad I’m able to share this week with those guys. We were a special group.”

It has to please Chiefs fans to see that Waters is carrying a piece of his Kansas City past with him as he readies for the biggest game of his life. Waters will go down as an all-time great Chief. After as signing as free agent in 2000 (the undrafted Waters was on Dallas’ practice squad in 1999), Waters became a stalwart in Kansas City. He made six Pro Bowls as a member of the Chiefs, including last season. Extremely charitable off the field, Waters won the prestigious NFL Man of the Year award in 2009.

However, Waters was cut by the Chiefs during the summer. Waters said it was a mutual decision that worked out well for both sides. There were rumblings that the Chiefs no longer thought Waters was a starting-quality player and that’s why he was cut. Waters said he never got that feel. If there were any questions about Waters’ abilities, he answered them in New England. He made the Pro Bowl again and he was widely considered one of the best guards in the NFL at the age of 34. He was dominant in the win over Baltimore in the AFC championship game.

Five weeks lapsed between Waters being cut in Kansas City and him signing with the Patriots. Waters said there were times when he wondered if he wanted to continue his career, but a lack of offers wasn’t a problem. “The phone rang every day,” he said. Once the he got the right call, Waters grabbed his shoulder pads.

“This was the right play place for me,” Waters said. “I’ve enjoyed this year so much it’s been a very smooth transition for me and now we get the chance to play the game that I’ve always wanted to play in.”

Could Waters imagine hoisting the Lombardi Trophy a day after his close friends punch a ticket to Canton?

“That would be unbelievable.”
The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its 17 finalists for enshrinement in 2012. The vote will be held February 4.

Three of the finalists have AFC West ties. Five others were part of the nine semifinalists to get knocked out of contention Saturday: Denver’s Steve Atwater, Terrell Davis and Karl Mecklenburg, former San Diego coach Don Coryell and former Oakland executive Ron Wolf.

Let’s take a look at the three finalists among the 17 who spent significant portions of their careers in the AFC West. Here they are:

Tim Brown, WR -- 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders

Will he get in? Brown will get in, but it may take some more time because of the logjam at receiver, whether it’s right or not. Cris Carter could block him this year.

Willie Roaf, T -- 2002-05 Kansas City Chiefs

Will he get in? I would not be shocked if Roaf gets in within the next couple of years.

Will Shields, G -- 1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs

Will he get in? I think Shields goes to Canton in his first time on the ballot.

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