Willie Roaf definitely deserved the honor that came his way last night as a member of the latest class of inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In fact, every player on the final list of 15 that had to be whittled down can make an incredible case for certain. But the fact that longtime All Pro guard Will Shields was left out of the running is among the more shocking revelations of the weekend.
Available for the first time this season to be voted upon, Shields was considered by many to be a favorite on his first ballot. While guards aren't revered like quarterbacks or pass rushers, Shields was a man among boys along the Chiefs offensive line and missed only one start from 1993 to 2006 in his career.
Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk predicted Shields would get in and wrote, "Shields, the longtime guard for the Kansas City Chiefs, never missed a game in 14 seasons and was selected to the Pro Bowl 12 times. If he doesn’t get in on the first ballot, the selection committee might as well just say guards can’t get in on their first try."
Bill Williamson over at ESPN wrote, "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."
Now Shields will have to wait until next year when the field becomes crowded once again and the sexier positions can earn a bit more attention. Willie Roaf was brought in this season after failing to make it in last year. Here's hoping Shields gets that chance.