OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — It’s been called the greatest honor a football player can receive.
Retired Kansas City Chiefs lineman Will Shields got the word on Saturday that he’ll be inducted into Pro Football’s Hall of Fame.
It’s an exciting honor for Shields, the Chiefs, and the franchise’s entire fan base.
It’s ironic that Shields’ mother spent time working for the Haggar Clothing Company. That’s the same corportation that creates the gold jacket given to Pro Football Hall of Famers.
Shields will slip into a size 50 this August, becoming the 18th player with Chiefs ties voted into the Hall. Shields spent 14 seasons playing football in Kansas City. He says he’s proud to give the hall another Chief.
“Like they say, you worked hard on a day-to-day basis just to get better at your craft at what you did,” Shields said. “You never thought it was going to be to this point, where you’re one of the best of the best.”
In 14 seasons with the Chiefs, big number 68 never missed a game on the offensive line. He helped block for elite running backs such as Marcus Allen and Priest Holmes.
Shields’ former teammates are just as proud. Retired wide receiver Danan Hughes and long snapper Kendall Gammon say it was a combination of strong football and great character that led Shields to this honor, as well as being named the league’s Man of the Year in 2003.
“He doesn’t carry himself like the stereotypical pro athlete or superstar,” Hughes said. “He’s just a down-to-earth guy and a family man.”
“For me to watch him, and think that I could do anything he did would be a misnomer. It’s just not possible,” Gammon said.
Shields played 224 consecutive games for the Chiefs. He says he’ll take this honor in stride, just as he has many other times.
“Once you get that knock on your door, and you’re in, everything changes. From that point, everything changes,” Shields said.
Shields will be one of eight inductees going into the Hall of Fame this august. He says he’s proud of a long career that had him playing for just one team.
Shields becomes the first Chief to enter Pro Football’s Hall of Fame since 2013, when retired defensive tackle Curley Culp entered the Hall.