Canton may soon welcome Will Shields

Will Shields has done a pretty good job of trying to keep his mind off of this Saturday’s events in Indianapolis.

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.