Pro Football Hall of Famers Will Shields and Aeneas Williams, three-time Pro Bowler Mark Brunell and three-time Super Bowl champion Willie McGinest will serve as the 2019 East-West Shrine Game Legends captains.
The 94th annual East-West Shrine Game, which features some of college football’s top prospects, will kick off on Saturday, January 19, from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. The four Legends captains will serve as mentors for players throughout the week and be present on the sidelines on gameday.
“The East-West Shrine Game merges both the game with community service by enriching young lives at the Shriners Hospitals,” said Troy Vincent, NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations. “These NFL Legends captains exemplify the very best of on-field play and giving back to community. As a former East-West Shrine Game participant, their mentorship throughout the week will have a lifetime impact on the players.”
“We are thrilled to have these exceptional alumni return as NFL Legends to work with our 2019 East-West Shrine Game players,” said Harold Richardson, East-West Shrine Game Executive Director. “The skill and knowledge that the Legends can provide to our players will further their ability to transition to the professional level next season in the NFL.”
Mark Brunell: Brunell enjoyed a 19-year NFL career, highlighted by his nine seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars where he was a three-time Pro Bowl selection. He holds the franchise record for passing yards, passing touchdowns and most 300-yard games. He was also a member of New Orleans’ Super Bowl XLIV winning team. Brunell remains active in the football community, currently serving as the head coach for the Episcopal School of Jacksonville.
Willie McGinest: A two-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time Super Bowl champion, McGinest was a vital member of the New England Patriots dynasty of the early 2000s. During his 12 seasons with New England, he recorded an NFL-record 16 postseason sacks, including a single-game playoff record 4.5 sacks in the Patriots’ 2005 AFC Wild Card game. McGinest finished his 15-year career with the Cleveland Browns and currently serves as an analyst for the NFL Network.
Will Shields: A member of the 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame class, Shields was a 12-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time First-Team All-Pro during his 14-year career with the Kansas City Chiefs. Shields never missed a game at guard throughout his career. He was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000’s. He was also named the 2003 Walter Payton Man of the Year for his work with the Will to Succeed Foundation, a charitable organization he founded in 1993.
Aeneas Williams: Williams earned eight Pro Bowl selections and the 1991 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award during his 14-year career for the Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams. The former walk-on at Southern University played both cornerback and safety, earning Pro Bowl selections at both positions. He was selected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990’s and enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014.
The East-West Shrine Game was the nation’s first college all-star football game. Created by the Shriners in 1925, the game supports Shriners Hospitals for Children, which seeks to provide children with expert medical care. Participating players make an annual visit to the local Shriners Hospital to visit the children and the staff.