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With Will Shields in, Tony Gonzalez is next

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Now that Will Shields has been selected for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Kansas City Chiefs won't have another player so honored for another few years. But that streak will come to an end in 2019 when former tight end Tony Gonzalez is eligible for selection.

Gonzalez is, of course, beyond discussion as a first-ballot Hall of Fame player. He set the standard for players at his position and the only negative on his record is that he never played in a Super Bowl. But that wasn't his fault.

The Chiefs have had eight players who at least had their best seasons and played the most substantial portion of their careers in Kansas City selected for the Hall of Fame: Bobby Bell, Willie Lanier, Len Dawson, Buck Buchanan, Jan Stenerud, Emmitt Thomas, Derrick Thomas and now Shields, who will be inducted this summer.

I'm not counting players like Joe Montana, Marcus Allen, Willie Roaf and Curley Culp. They all had some solid seasons playing for the Chiefs but their best years and the substantial portion of their careers were spent with other teams.

It's interesting that of those eight players, only one was selected in his first year of eligibility and he's probably not the one you're thinking of.

It was Stenerud, the placekicker who finished his career in 1985 with the Minnesota Vikings and then was inducted in 1991. The wait for the others from time of eligibility to time of selection: Bell three years, Lanier four, Dawson seven, Buchanan 10, Emmitt Thomas 24, Derrick Thomas five, Shields four.

So Gonzalez should be only the second first-ballot Hall of Fame player in Chiefs history.