The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Will Donnie Shell be named as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame later today?
The Blue Ribbon panel assembled over a week ago in Canton to discuss, debate, and dissect lists of dozens of individuals who were named finalists for what will ultimately a 15-man ‘Centennial Slate’ wing of the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2020.
That 15-man group will consists of five senior players, three contributors, and two coaches. We already know the two coaches, one being former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher. We don’t know the rest, but among the 20 finalists for the players is former Steelers safety Donnie Shell.
The results of the Blue Ribbon panel’s voting are going to be revealed today, so the wait is almost over to find out whether or not Shell has finally made it following decades of eligibility. Should he get in, he figures to be the last player from the team’s great dynasty era to be enshrined.
Playing from 1974, originally signed as an undrafted free agent, through the 1987 season, Shell recorded 51 receptions over the course of his career, returning two of them for touchdowns. He also recorded 19 fumble recoveries, giving him 70 takeaways over the course of his career, and scoring two touchdowns on those as well.
He recorded at least five interceptions in six consecutive seasons from 1979 to 1984. Tied with seven others, he trails only Emlen Tunnell for the most such consecutive seasons. Tunnell did it in 10 straight years—the first 10 years of his 13-year career. Shell is the only player to have done it past 1972.