Will Shields Signs Deal With Chiefs

Thursday, August 3rd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

RIVER FALLS, Wis. (AP) -- Guard Will Shields signed a one-year,$4.1 million deal and reported to the Chiefs training camp Wednesday.

Shields, the Chiefs' franchise player, missed 14 practices during his holdout. "It was sort of a last-minute thing," said Shields, who has played in five Pro Bowls. "I guess it was just time to get back into camp and get back to work. There was no use in waiting anylonger."

Shields, from Lawton, Okla., is a critical part of an offensive line that includes an aging center in Tim Grunhard along with young tackles in Victor Riley on the right side and John Tait on the left side.

The Chiefs are also concerned about Pro Bowl guard Dave Szott, who has not been involved in contact drills so far in camp because of a blood clot. Szott, who has a child with cerebral palsy, had asked to be traded to an East Coast team to be near a school that offered a special program for his son. He had also considered retirement before deciding to report to camp.

Shields, a third-round pick in 1993, has started 111 consecutive games. As the franchise player, Shields will earn the average salary of the NFL's five highest-paid offensive lineman based on 1999salaries. "Having him back is huge," Tait said. "I'm sure he's no going to miss a beat, and he'll be ready to go."

The signing of Shields leaves first-round draft choice Sylveste rMorris as the last key player unsigned.