The Most Deserving Hall of Famer – Making The Case for Donnie Shell

When we think about the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970s, many associate them greatness; this greatness was conceived through the NFL draft between 1969 and 1974. Many of these players are regarded as some of the greatest players to ever play the game; Mean Joe Green(1969), L.C. Greenwood (1969), Terry Bradshaw (1970), Mel Blount (1972), Franco Harris (1972), Jack Ham (1971), Jack Lambert (1974), Lynn Swann(1974), John Stallworth (1974), and Mike Webster (1974). Yet in the sea of greatness that is the 1970s Steelers, the most deserving Hall of Famer is one that is not yet in the Hall of Fame, his name is Donnie Shell.

Blount once admitted that he could not have had a better compliment to him than Shell. Discovered by the late great player scout Bill Nunn Jr., Nunn had enough faith in Shell to invite him for a tryout. Not only did Shell make the roster, he exceeded everyone’s expectation. He went on to play 13 seasons, 201 career games (second all-time on the Steelers next to Mike Webster), make five Pro Bowl appearances, receiver four All-Pro selections, win four Superbowls, and collect 51 career interceptions, ranking him first all-time among all strong safeties. One would assume with such a resume, he would have already been selected to the Hall of Fame.

It has been 31 years since his retirement, and Shell has watched his many fellow teammates get inducted; in fact, he performed the induction speech for one of his former coaches, Tony Dungy when he was inducted in 2016. When viewing Shell’s introduction speech,  I could not help but think that of all the people whom where being inducted, the most deserving Hall of Famer was not being inducted.

Through it all, Shell continues to show the same class and professionalism he displayed on and off the field during his Steelers days. Perhaps one day, the Hall of Fame committee can see what all know; he is the most deserving Hall of Famer yet to be inducted.

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