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Will Shields: Then and Now

The City of Lawton has never produced a Hall of Famer. But that dry spell will come to an end on Saturday night when Lawton High Grad and former Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Lineman Will Shields is inducted in to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 7Sports Kyle Weatherly is in Canton, Ohio for the big event and he picks up our coverage from there as Shields receives his Gold Jacket.
Lawton product, Will Shields, received his unofficial induction in to the Hall of Fame tonight when he received his illustrious Gold Jacket. Childhood friend Adrian Lunsford, who will present Shields at his enshrinement ceremony on Saturday, was there to hand him the newest addition to his wardrobe. It's a rare piece. Only 295 men have ever owned one.


"Well you know you think about it, you're a part of this unique group, this honorary group of guys that have accomplished great things on the field and now you can actually show it. You know you get a chance to wear it every time you walk out and do these different things that you have to work hard to get there. So all of the blood, sweat and tears is worth every minute of it, because now you're part of this great group of men." – Will Shields


Even in his big moment in the spotlight, Shields stayed true to his roots and gave the City of Lawton some love by throwing the L's up.


For 14 years, Will Shields built a reputation as one of the top guards in the history of the National Football League. He was selected to the Pro Bowl 12 times. And when the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 2000's was released, Number 68 was on it.
Those are the accomplishments that have led Shields here to Canton, Ohio where he'll soon take his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But Shields journey to football immortality began more than 30 years ago in Lawton.
It was in 1986 when Shields first stepped on to a football field at Lawton High. It didn't take long for his coaches to realize they had something special on their hands.


"I watched Will go through his drills and I was in awe of his feet and his flexibility and his agility. And then we would have a break in the action, and the coaches came over and said 'How'd that senior look they put in at defensive tackle?' I said ‘We can forget about him. We got a sophomore that can really play.’"  - Randy Breeze, Former LHS Defensive Line Coach


"Will was a good size kid. You know, probably back then at his sophomore year, around 230 or 240. And he had very strong lower body and huge hips and legs. You could tell he was going to grow a lot. " – Clarence Madden, Former LHS Offensive Line Coach


And grow he did. Not only physically but in terms of his skill level. As a junior in 1987, Shields was a dominant force on a loaded Lawton High team. The Wolverines, behind a strong running game, rolled to the state championship.


"We wanted both guard and tackle to pull. We'd both pull and being the guard he'd pull first to the right and I'd be right behind him. And I could just, when I got there, the people he already made contact with were pretty much on the ground every time. He cleaned house every time he went through, that I just picked up the next guy. Then of course Dewell would be right past us you know down the field." – Joebob Warner, LHS Offensive Tackle ’86-‘88


"It was just fun. It was a blessing. You know, because if you have a guy like that, you don't have to worry about the hole. You know what I mean? Because you know it's going to be there. If we ran that 44 Iso, we had Will and Joebob and them on one side. It was no issue, you know it's going to be there. That's the greatest feeling in the world for a running back. To know no matter what that hole is going to be there." – Dewell Brewer, LHS Running Back ’86-‘88


In the summer before his senior season, Shields' recruiting picked up. But there was one school that caught his attention, The University of Nebraska. After earning numerous accolades in 1988, including All-State honors and State Lineman of the Year, Shields ended up signing with the Cornhuskers.


"I think Nebraska really saw a lot in him and were kind of before everyone else. You know, getting in on offering him and wanting him. And then later on it really got a lot more where a lot of other universities were thinking about him." – Clarence Madden


"They had a great program. Great academic program. And we ran the exact same offense. Called the plays the same. Blocking scheme was the same. So as an offensive lineman, if you are coming from a scheme in high school that was almost like what you are going to in college, it makes it a lot easier for you." – Dewell Brewer


At Nebraska, Shields blossomed in to the best offensive lineman in college football, winning the Outland Trophy in 1992. He went on to become a third round pick of the Chiefs in the 1993 draft. Shields earned his first career start in the second game of his rookie season, a spot he would not give up until he retired in 2006.

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