CANTON, Ohio – It’s often said good things come to those who wait. That absolutely embodies Donnie Shell finally being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Shell, now 68-years-old, who played his last NFL game in 1987 had to wait until 2021 before experiencing the honor of being able to deliver a speech on stage in Canton, Ohio, a speech others who had to endure a long wait were not as fortunate to be alive to deliver when they finally got the call.
It’s possible having to wait only makes Shell’s induction that much sweeter for a man whose NFL career was all about conquering adversity. After going undrafted in 1974, the odds were certainly stacked against Shell from ever being immortalized in the halls of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But Shell conquered those odds and will now live forever in Canton.
Shell started his speech off by asking for the large crowd of Steelers fans in attendance to wave their Terrible Towels. As fans waved their towels with furosity, Shell began thanking those who helped raise him in Whitmire, South Carolina before proceeding to tell a story of an inspirational message Hall of Fame coach Chuck Noll told him when the Steelers signed him as an undrafted free agent.
Shell, who attended South Carolina State University, mentioned how proud he is to be among the distinguished Hall of Famers from a historically Black land-grant institution.
The 4-time Super Bowl champion, 5-time Pro Bowler, 3-time First-Team All-Pro who recorded 51 career interceptions as one of the best safeties in football history, Shell can now add Hall of Famer next his name.