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Will Shields on the Chiefs New Management, Brian Waters and Tony Gonzalez

(2004) The starting offensive line for Kansas City, from left, Will Shields, John Welbourn, Brian Waters Willie Roaf and Casey Wiegmann. Tim Umphrey/Icon, for The New York Times
(2004) The starting offensive line for Kansas City, from left, Will Shields, John Welbourn, Brian Waters Willie Roaf and Casey Wiegmann. Tim Umphrey/Icon, for The New York Times

Former Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Will Shields was on The Border Patrol a few days ago and I've taken some notes on the interview.

Will talks about rookies, veteran acquisitions, Michael Vick and more after the jump.

This team was snowballing in the middle of last season. We knew there would be changes. With Scott Pioli and Haley on board, what would you say about all they've done this off season?

I think they have had a pretty good off season. They changed the philosophy. It's a combination of old and young. They had to go out and get some veteran players to show the younger guys how to do things. It's difficult to go all young, all the way and become a Super Bowl team.

My old offensive line coach used to tell me, "Rookies get you fired." Like with coach Shanahan in Denver, these guys can get you fired. You have to go with the veterans to keep you steady and solid and then bring some younger guys along with you.

To build on that point, one question that seems to come up is that the guys they brought in are veterans towards the end of their career.  You always wonder with guys like that if they can stay on the field and if they are off the field, how can they be leaders?

I think that goes back to the types of guys you're bringing in. You bring in those quality guys that worked in day in and day out. Guys that don't anticipate missing games. Guys that have started for years and years and years. He [Pioli] goes by the character of the person, put that together as far as the team.You get leadership and pull it together and say, "You young guys have to follow."

What about the three veterans specfiically: Mike Vrabel, Zach Thomas, Mike Brown?

What's really cool is that I know all three of them pretty well. Mike Brown being a Nebraska alumni; and then actually having Vrabel and Zach. Me and Zach are pretty close at times. At one time we had the same agent. You know these guys are guys that are going to give you everything they have in the lockeroom and on the football field.

To know the defense that they know they want to run, it's not going to be too exciting. It's going to be grind it out and make them beat you with their talent. Make them drive down the field, not get the long ball. It's a methodical thought process to defense, basically building up matchups to win. It's important to have seen a lot of the tricks of the trade. They brought in those guys at certain positions so that the younger guys can play their positions.

They say nobody is really showing interest in Michael Vick. Should a team like the Chiefs be interested?

I don't know if he fits the mold of what the quarterback situation would be here in Kansas City. He's not a drop back quaterback. If you're looking for a great change up, then he'd be perfect for it.

I don't think he fits in the system in Kansas City. I don't think a lot of the teams know what he's like mentally yet, after going through all of that. But really, the mentality of a player is the same. He can fit in anywhere he can go. He went through the judgement. 

I think he would be awesome in a Kordell Stewart like role.

I think he could play both. If something happened to your starter, then you have guy who has been a starter before. It depends on where he is mentally. Through trial and tribulations, there are some positive things to say.

A big story in the off season was Brian Waters and his disagreements with Scott Pioli and Todd Haley. Are you surprised that Brian Waters butted heads with the front office?

No, I'm not really surprised. Brian is one of those guys, when he has a feeling about something strong, he doesn't wait to voice his opinion. What makes it difficult, is when you have a new coaching statff that comes in, they have to set their precedents too. To butt heads with a veteran players, I think that's a given in the NFL. There's always one or two people who don't liek the new regime or don't like comments that were said.

But situations happen. Things go. Brian is a pro. He's one of those guys thats going to come in and do his job - maybe not quietly - but to the best of his ability.

Did the Chiefs handle the situation properly?

I mean if you really think about it it hasn't been too bad of an issue. It hasn't been something blaring in thepaper everyday. It's not a situation that brought anyone else into the fold. I think they've handled it very well.

Was trading Tony Gonzalez a good trade for the Chiefs?

I think so. I think it gives the best of both worlds. Gives Tony the chance t go out for a team that was in the playoffs last year. Gives him the chance to say "Am I the piece that can get them to the next level?" He asked for it, he wanted it and it happened. He was a guy that contributed to the team for a long time. But if he's ready to move on and not be a part of what we're doing, then it might be the best things for both. 

Matt Cassel was brought over for that second round choice. They sign him to the long-term extension. Only one season under his belt. Do you think that it was a good move?

Business is business. We can lock a guy fo ra long term deal. Instead of paying 15 off the get go, spread th emoney out. For us as a team, that's what they're saying, is that they'll live and die with him. That's how the NFL goes. You get a guy and put your name on the line. I think it's a good vote of confidence. Like anything else, it's always going to be a gamble. You need to put the supporting pieces around him.

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