Donnie Shell Is Hall of Fame Bound

[Pittsburgh Pa] 5 days after former head coach Bill Cowher got his good news, the Pittsburgh Steelers learned Wednesday that another one of their own would represent them in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the person of Safety Donnie Shell, who will get enshrined into the Hall as a member of the Centennial Class.

When he got the call from Hall of Fame President David Baker, Shell was stunned to silence.
“Wow. Wow. David, it’s amazing. I am at a loss for words,”-The NFL Network’s Good Morning Football interviewed Shell after getting the news “My wife said I talk so much that is the first time I have ever been without words. To think of where I come from, born and raised in Whitmire, South Carolina, playing football in high school and then matriculating to South
Carolina State University. Leaving there and coming as an undrafted free agent to the Steelers. I kept working from special teams and to a starter and we won a few Super Bowls. It means a great deal. You didn’t do it by yourself.”

Shell definitely didn’t do it by himself as he was scouted by the legendary Bill Nunn, who is
considered one of the premier scouts of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities
(HBCU). He saw how special Shell was when others didn’t as he was an undrafted rookie in the famous 1974 Draft that saw the Steelers select 4 future Hall of Famers (Lynn Swann, Jack
Lambert, John Stallworth and Mike Webster)Now the undrafted Shell’s addition to the Hall of Fame makes the Class of 1974 even more special.

“When you are not drafted, especially when we had 17 rounds in 1974, then you come up and make a young team, an up and coming team with that defense.”-Said Shell, who made his mark on special teams and playing behind fellow safeties Mike Wagner and Glen Edwards.

After Edwards was traded in 1978, Shell became a starter in the Steelers famed Steel Curtain
Defense. And four Super Bowls, was named to five Pro Bowls, 3 All-Pro Selections and he
intercepted 51 passes. Twice, he picked off 7 in a season (1985, 1984) and he picked off 5 four times (1979,1981-83). He was also named Steelers team MVP in 1980.

Shell retired from football in 1987 (along with Stallworth) and his interception total was the most all-time for a strong safety upon his retirement and is currently tied for 32nd.

“It was a special group. The Steelers were special. We had a sense of family” Said Shell “It’s not only a football organization, but it’s a family organization. I felt that family spirit from the Rooney family, what they did for us and our families and in the community. That made it more unique than anywhere else.”

“I want to congratulate Donnie Shell for his election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame” Said Steelers President Art Rooney II “He was a dynamic defender for our historic Steel Curtain defense in the 1970s.” 

As an undrafted rookie Donnie immediately earned the nickname “The Torpedo” for his physical special teams play. Donnie became a starter and a force from the strong safety position both as a tackler stopping the run and a ball hawk having 51 interceptions – a record for the strong safety position. Donnie is now the fifth member of our 1974 rookie class to be inducted.

“We are excited he will be honored with our sport’s highest individual honor this summer in Canton. I think I’m more excited today than I was for my selection in 2016. My mentor and brother Donnie Shell has been selected to the Hall of Fame Centennial Class. No one deserves it more and I can’t wait to see him put on the Gold Jacket in August. CONGRATULATIONS
DONNIE!”-Said former teammate Tony Dungy. When he was inducted in 2016, Shell was
Dungy’s presenter.

In 2017, Dungy lobbied for Shell to make the Hall “That would definitely be my old Steelers roommate Donnie Shell. Donnie has 51 interceptions, 19 fumble recoveries, 70 takeaways in his career, four Super Bowl rings. Just an outstanding player and in my opinion should be in the Hall of Fame,” Dungy said.

So now the Steelers have 5 players from that 1974 Draft to go to Canton, 10 from their 1970’s Super Bowl Dynasty and 27 total (not including the addition of Cowher and Shell). And if Modern-Era Finalists Troy Polamalu and Alan Faneca get in, it will truly be a fun summer for Steeler Nation.

Shell was also inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1998 was inducted into the
Black College Football Hall of Fame in 2015 and was added to the Steelers Hall of Honor in
2017. Now he will get his bust and HOF ring in Canton and he has this word of encouragement to those pursuing their dreams: “That was the dream. You have to have dreams to accomplish anything”

Notes: The Steelers made other news Wednesday as CB Joe Haden was added to the Pro Bowl, replacing Baltimore’s Marcus Peters. Haden intercepted 5 passes for the Steelers in 2019, his most since 2010 when he had 6. It’s also his 3 rd Pro Bowl selection and his first since 2014. He’s also the first Steelers CB to make the Pro Bowl since Rod Woodson did so in 1996…The Steelers also announced that former Pitt Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada was hired to be their Quarterbacks Coach.

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Quotes: NFLNetwork, Twitter and


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