A champion steps aside
Will Shields played like a Hall of Famer on the field and conducted himself like one off the field. He will be missed between the sidelines and in the locker room now that he has announced his retirement after a brilliant 14-year career. "The love for the game never decreased but, as the years passed, the physical requirements of the game became harder to fulfill each and every day," Shields announced on his website. "If it (were) up to me, I would play football forever but, as we all know, that is unrealistic. However, I do hope to always be connected to the game in some capacity." Shields, 35, never missed a game in his NFL career and started all of one of his 224 career contests, but nagging aches and pains were preventing him from participating fully in practices in recent years. Shields, a right guard, was elected to the Pro Bowl in each of his final 12 seasons. In his final game, he tied Randall McDaniel's record for the most Pro Bowl games played. He was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in 2003 for his work in the community, and his "Will to Succeed" Foundation will continue its impressive work.