We might as well be calling him IronMan.
Will Shields, the former Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman, played in every game during the course of his 14-year NFL career, staving off injury and starting in all but one contest. He was an incredible force in the trenches for his lifetime team and after years of building up a reputation and records, Shields will add another notch to his impressive record when he joins the Class of 2015 in this year’s NFL Hall of Fame induction.
Here’s what you need to know about the perpetual blocker:
1. Shields Was Selected to the All-Century Nebraska Football Team in 1999
A first-team All-American and Outland Trophy winner during his senior season at Nebraska, Shields was selected to both the fan-vote and Gannett News All-Century Nebraska football team in 1999.
Shields, who grew up in Fort Riley, Kansas, is one of just 16 former Cornhuskers to have his jersey retired by the team. In 2011 he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
2. He Set a Kansas City Chiefs Record for Consecutive Games Played
Following his dominant college career, Shields was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the third round of the 1993 NFL Draft. He played for the Chiefs from 1993 to 2006 and never once missed a game. In fact, he started in all but one of the games he played. The streak was a team record and, at the time, his 231 straight games started were the second longest consecutive streak in the NFL.
Shields went to the Pro Bowl for 12 of his 14 seasons, a Kansas City record, blocking for 1,000-yard rushers in five seasons as well as 4-000 yard passes for five seasons.
3. He & His Wife Senia Helped Create the ‘Will to Succeed’ Foundation in 1993
The pair, who met while they were both students at Nebraska, established the Will to Succeed Foundation in 1993, the first year that Shields played in Kansas City. The organization was created to address the needs of battered and abused women and children in the greater Kansas City area.
Shields explained the decision to create the Foundation and its focus on using the arts to better the lives of the disadvantaged:
I’m an artistic person. I want to engage and challenge the creative side of children. When an individual develops their creative side, their self-esteem grows. When self-esteem grows, there is an increased desire to strive for new challenges and higher goals.
Over its more than decade in operation, the Foundation has expanded to serve as an umbrella organization that helps direct other local charities. Perhaps the biggest beneficiary of that umbrella is the St. Vincent’s Family Service Center’s Operation Breakthrough, a non-profit day care that serves over 700 of the poorest children in Kansas City.
4. Shields Owns & Operates 68 Inside Sports in Kansas
After announcing his retirement from football in 2007, Shields shifted his focus to a slightly more retail approach, opening 68 Inside Sports, a gymnasium and sports facility in Overland Park, Kansas.
The facility had previously been Dales athletic club and was a staple in the community before it began to deteriorate slightly. Enter Shields, who bought the building and the company in 2007, turning the facility into a family fitness center with upgraded equipment, physical therapy, a golf studio and competitive sports performance training center.
5. Two of His Children Played College Basketball
Shields and his wife are parents to three children, a daughter named Sanayika and two sons, Shavon and Solomon, and it seems the athletic apple has not fallen far from the family’s collective tree.
Shavon is set to enter his senior season at Nebraska where he has made a name for himself as one of the program’s all-time best basketball players. He has already served as a two-time captain and last year was a First-Team CoSIDA Academic All-American with a 3.73 GPA. The 6-foot-7 forward started all 31 games for the Huskers as a junior and ranked among the top players in the Big Ten in scoring (15.4 ppg), rebound (6.0 rpg), free throw percentage (.827) and minutes played (35.3).
Meanwhile, Sanayika was also a standout on the hardwood, playing four seasons at Drury where she finished her career ranked fifth on the all-time rebounding list (595) and fourteenth in scoring (886). She led the Lady Panthers to three NCAA-II National Tournament appearances and an overall 87-29 record.
Both children have also played for Denmark’s national team and Sanayika is even weighing her options for an overseas career.
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