Players Of The Decade

The Chiefs did not have many games of importance during the last decade.

But they did have some important players. Voting by our readers focused on a handful of players and two were at the top when it came to being considered the best Chiefs player of the decade:

  • TE Tony Gonzalez
  • G Will Shields

Overall, five players received recognition from readers as the best player in a Chiefs uniform during the 2000s: Gonzalez, Shields, RB Priest Holmes, QB Trent Green and WR Dante Hall.

And among all the voters, some of whom listed out their top 10 selections and even more, some 19 different p layers from the past decade were nominated.

But Gonzalez and Shields led the way, just as they led the way on the field with their performances in the Chiefs offense during the decade. Gonzalez played nine seasons, missing only this past year after he was traded to the Atlanta Falcons. Shields played seven seasons, retiring before the start of the ‘07 season.

And, both were Chiefs draft choices: Shields in the third round of the ‘93 NFL Draft and Gonzalez in the first-round of the ‘97 selection meeting.

Their qualifications are impeccable:

SHIELDS – with seven Pro Bowl appearances in the decade, one of his greatest abilities was his availability; in his 14-year career, Shields never missed a game. Whether it was blocking for the run, or providing pass protection. He’s Hall of Fame worthy

GONZALEZ – became the NFL’s leading career receiver at the tight end position and the Chiefs leading receiver no matter the position. Tony G. earned nine trips to the Pro Bowl in the decade and in 143 games, he caught 748 passes for 9,102 yards and 61 TD catches. He missed one game in the decade.

Here are the top players in the recent decade according to our readers. They are listed in alphabetical order. Note: the seasons, games, starts and Pro Bowls listed are only for time with the Chiefs in the decade:





Pro Bowls

How Acquired

Jared Allen





4th-round choice 2004
Tony Gonzalez





1st-round choice 1997
Trent Green





Trade w/St. Louis 2001
Dante Hall





5th-round choice 2000
Priest Holmes





UFA signee (BAL) 2001
Eddie Kennison





FA signee 2001
Tony Richardson





FA signee 1995
Willie Roaf





Trade w/New O. 2002
Will Shields





3rd-round choice 1993
Brian Waters





FA signee 2000

Other players mentioned: Larry Johnson, Tamba Hali, Dustin Colquitt, Ryan Succop, Brandon Flowers, Casey Wiegmann, Morten Andersen and Eric Hicks.

Here are some of the comments from the readers:


“It would have to be Tony Gonzalez, the best tight end to ever play the game.”

“Great player and smart enough to try getting out before the wheels came completely off.”

“He provided great football on a consistent basis.”


“He was everything you could ever hope for in a player and then some. A class act all the way, both on the field and off.

“An amazing talent, extremely smart and so much more.”


“The only true leader the Chiefs had in the decade.”

“The best triggerman the team’s had since Lenny.”


“He made the offense … no one else need apply.”

“It was always fun to see him make something out of nothing.”


“The man who put BrandSmart out of business!”

That’s what the readers think. Now, here are my picks for the top 10 Chiefs players of the decade, in order of their importance and performance to the team. Again, seasons and games are for those played in the decade with the Chiefs:


Will Shields

Right Guard

7 seasons-112 games

There are statistics to show how great Tony Gonzalez was as a tight end and Priest Holmes was as a running back. But none of those numbers would have existed without the superior offensive line the Chiefs put together in the first half of the decade. And although he was surrounded by talented players, the guy who stood above the rest was Shields. Under every possible criterion that’s been used over time to judge a football player, Shields scores high marks. He was athletic, he was quick, he was strong, he was durable and thus available, never missing a game in his career, let alone the decade. He made those players around him better and he helped the team achieve a lot of victories over his career, even into the 21st Century. Shields was a smart player and he was an involved individual, he was not the type of professional athlete that was ever a threat to turn-up in the daily crime report. In the 2000s, he was the best player on the Chiefs and he’ll be the next K.C. player to reach enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He’s eligible for the Class of 2012.

Tony Gonzalez

Tight End

9 seasons-143 games

When it comes to what Gonzalez did during his career with the Chiefs, especially those nine seasons in the 2000s, there are few players wearing a Chiefs uniform that set them in the fabric of the game like T.G. His career is not yet complete but already he’s the best receiving tight end in the history of the game and the leading receiver in Chiefs franchise history. His 748 catches for 9,102 yards is almost double that of the No. 2 receiver for the Chiefs in the decade. He benefitted from the introduction of the Dick Vermeil-Al Saunders offense starting in 2001, but Gonzalez was also one of the hardest working players the organization has seen and certainly one of the best athletes. At some point, Gonzalez will have a bust in Canton.

Priest Holmes

Running Back

6 seasons-65 games

Over the free agency era, the Chiefs signed a number of very good and productive free agents, players like Marcus Allen, Dan Saleaumua, Casey Wiegmann, James Hasty and Mark Collins. But the best was Holmes, signed as a UFA in 2001 after several seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. The Chiefs pursued Holmes in that off-season, but never did they expect the type of performances that the former Texas Longhorns running back was able to achieve in his playing window in Kansas City. He ran for 6,070 yards on 1,321 carries and 76 touchdowns. He was the fourth leading receiver in the decade with 251 catches for 2,377 yards and seven TD receptions. Although Larry Johnson made a run at the record, Holmes still holds the mark for most rushing yards as a member of the Chiefs. Holmes was one of the decade’s most exciting and productive offensive weapons and earned three trips to the Pro Bowl. He will one day be a future member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame.

Trent Green


6 seasons-88 games

When he arrived in Kansas City in 2001, Green was largely an unproven starting quarterback in the league. Dick Vermeil believed in him and installed Green as his starting quarterback in his first season as head coach. That first year was a tough one for Green, but starting in 2002 and running through the 2005 season, there were few more productive passers in the league. Over the 88 games he played, Green completed 61.9 percent of his 2,777 passes for 21,459 yards, 118 TD passes and 85 interceptions. He was named to a pair of Pro Bowls and should find himself in the Chiefs Hall of Fame as soon as he’s eligible.

Dante Hall


7 seasons – 97 games

Over the years, the Chiefs have had some outstanding returners, guys like Noland “Super Gnat” Smith, J.T. Smith, Dale Carter, and Tamarick Vanover. Their accomplishments paled in comparison to what Hall accomplished over a five-season span. He returned 11 kickoffs and punts for touchdowns. Plus, he added another nine scores as a receiver. Despite always being the smallest man on the field, Hall was always the biggest explosion waiting to happen. He went to a pair of Pro Bowls and Hall will be a future member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame.

Brian Waters

Left Guard

10 seasons-147 games

He came to the Chiefs at the start of the decade as a bulked up college tight end who failed in his first attempt to make the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys. Signed by the Chiefs as a free agent, Waters was sent to NFL Europe where he played a season at center. In the 2000 season, he played in six games, including some time on the kick coverage team. He was in the starting lineup in 2001 and has been there since. Waters had a period there in mid-decade where he was one of the best blockers in the league. He earned four trips to the Pro Bowl and the Chiefs Hall of Fame will include him.

Larry Johnson

Running Back

7 seasons – 75 games

At the end of the decade, Johnson was considered one of the most divisive figures in recent Chiefs history. That point can be debated, but it has overshadowed the fact that when given the chance to be the engine of the Chiefs offense, Johnson was high octane. He ran for 6,015 yards on 1,375 carries and scored 55 touchdowns. While he was largely one-dimensional as a back, Johnson did catch 151 passes for 1,369 yards and six TDs. He was twice honored with a spot on the AFC team in the Pro Bowl.

Willie Roaf

Left Tackle

4 seasons – 58 games

It would be hard for any player who played just four years at the end of his career to be considered in a decade’s list of top 10 players. He would have to be an exceptional talent, and that’s the case with Roaf. Coming back off a serious knee injury when he was acquired by the Chiefs in a trade with the Saints, Roaf played four good to great seasons with the team at left tackle. Teaming with Shields, Waters, Casey Wiegmann and John Tait, they were the league’s best blocking unit for the run and the pass. Roaf went to four Pro Bowls during his time with the Chiefs and may have gone to several more if he had not suddenly retired before the ‘06 season. With his career with the Saints and Chiefs, Roaf will have a real chance to reach the Hall of Fame. He’s eligible with the class of 2011.

Jared Allen

Defensive End

4 seasons – 61 games

Allen’s the most dynamic defensive player the Chiefs put on the field since Derrick Thomas’ death. Coming into the league as a Division I-AA star, Allen quickly made his mark as a pass rusher and worked his way up the ladder to become one of the NFL best sackers. Even though he played only four seasons, he had 43 sacks to lead the Chiefs in the decade. Allen also contributed 230 total tackles and a pair of TD catches as a goal-line tight end.

Tony Richardson


6 seasons – 92 games

Whether it was for Marcus Allen, Greg Hill, Donnell Bennett, Priest Holmes or Larry Johnson, Richardson was one of the best blocking fullbacks in the game. That’s continued during the rest of his career which continues this weekend in the AFC Championship Game with the Jets. The personification of class, Richardson was a solid runner and receiver to go with his blocking abilities. He ran for 1,105 yards on 277 carries with 12 touchdown runs. He also caught 146 catches for 1,120 yards and five TDs.

10 Responses to “Players Of The Decade”

  • January 21, 2010  - colby says:

    I’ve been rooting for the Jets this post season for one reason only: T-RICH! Tony is one of the classiest players the Chiefs have ever had and it’s a shame we didn’t keep him around. He’s still valuable even at this point in his career. He deserves a ring.

  • January 22, 2010  - Merwin in NY says:

    Colby, I couldn’t agree more, I was really pissed off when they let him go. And the fact that he is still a starting FB on a playoff team really reinforces the fact that he can still play at a high level. Allowing Donnie Edwards, Jared Allen and Tony Richardson to leave has to be the three worst moves we have allowed to happen in this decade!

  • January 22, 2010  - gorillafan says:

    Bob, great overview of our picks.

    Go T-Rich this weekend!!

    Congrats to all players that made the list. Like posted above, just think if we still had T-Rich–T.G and Allen on our team, we woudlnt be in this situation.

    But we are on the upside now hopefully..GO Chiefs

  • January 22, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    Fantastic job, Bob. Good stuff.

    Let’s hope that 10 years from now, we’ll have a much longer list of “Players of the Decade”.

  • January 22, 2010  - ChiefsFanInOK says:

    Colby, I agree 100% – Well said! T-Rich was/is a class act and an all-around great performer on the field.

  • January 22, 2010  - Randy says:

    I truly believe Dante Hall put Brandsmart out of business. They ran a promo that said if the Chiefs return the opening kickoff of either half for a TD all purchases of $500 or more from that weekend would be free. In December 1994, Hall returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a TD vs the Chargers. BrandSmart closed it’s doors at the end of 1994.

  • January 22, 2010  - el cid says:

    Randy do not remember that. But I do remember that if the Chiefs held the team to no points , what you bought was free. The stadium was rocking at the end of the game. always a smile.

  • January 22, 2010  - mog55 says:

    Poor Tony G.
    So sad about the falcons not making the playoffs. LOL. I love Tony(dont get me wrong)…he’s a Chief. He could of stayed in KC and not made the playoffs…but, he would be our leading receiver and made the probowl…and still been relavent. Now he will just age and fade… nice work traitor & thanks for the 2nd rounder!

  • January 22, 2010  - True Red & Gold says:

    mog55, get over it!

  • January 23, 2010  - arrowhead1978 says:

    Tony G will still be playing next season, I believe if he was with the chiefs this season he would have retired at the end of this year.

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