Will Shields had an unlikely mentor in his rookie season with the Chiefs

Will Shields was selected to 12 Pro Bowls during his tenure with the Chiefs. Tim Umphrey/Getty Images

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Former Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Will Shields will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 8. I have done a few recent interviews with Shields, and between now and his induction I'll share some of his thoughts on various subjects.

Previously, Shields shared the regrets he had about his career, and they're not what you might think.

Reggie McElroy played 13 NFL seasons as an offensive tackle in the 1980s and 90s, but he spent only a short time with the Chiefs. He played in eight games in his only season with the Chiefs, in 1993, and started one game.

That's not to say he didn't have a significant impact while he was in Kansas City. McElroy's one season with the Chiefs happened to be Shields' rookie year. Shields, a third-round draft pick from Nebraska, was in search of a mentor. The Chiefs had some established veterans on their offensive line at the time, including John Alt, Tim Grunhard and Dave Szott. But McElroy was the one who made the biggest impression on the rookie.

"I give Reggie a big credit as far as being a mentor, especially that first year, getting me in the right mindset to play at that level," Shields said. "

"He gave me a lot of good knowledge as far as what I could do. He was one of those guys who said, 'Young buck -- that's what he called me -- you've got this and you've got that and you can do this' and he said to make sure to learn from everybody who steps on the field so I could get better."

Shields did that, quickly. He never missed a game in his 14 seasons with the Chiefs. He started every one of his 224 regular-season games but the first one, though he came in as a replacement.

His was a rapid rise after that. Shields made the Pro Bowl at guard 12 times in those 14 seasons.

To Shields, though, things were shaky at first. He remembered being so bad at the start of his career that he worried about keeping his job.

"It took me a little bit," he said. "The first minicamp after I got there, I was terrible. I struggled, very bad, to the point I was thinking I was going to end up being cut.

"After I came back, the second minicamp and the third one got better. I sort of figured that I sort of arrived at that point. I guess the main [point] was when the coaches were saying I could actually, maybe, get into the starting lineup by Week 5 or at least share time with the guys that were starting Week 4 or Week 5."