Donnie Shell

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Donnie Shell

14 Seasons
201 Games
51 Career Interceptions
5 Pro Bowls
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14

Seasons

201

Games

51

Career Interceptions

5

Pro Bowls
View full stats

“Once I proved to myself, I was learning, I knew I would make it. I’ve always believed in myself and I’ve always worked hard enough to be successful at whatever I take on.”

Read Donnie Shell's Bio

(South Carolina State)...5'11'', 190...Signed as free agent and earned starting role at end of rookie season … Recorded interception in his first career start … Hard-hitting tackler and integral member of Steelers’ vaunted defense … Played in six AFC championship games and four Super Bowls … Recorded five or more picks in season six straight years, 1979-1984 … Led or shared team lead in interceptions five times (1980, 1982-84, 1986) … Career stats: 51 interceptions for 490 yards … Recovered two fumbles for TD … Selected First-Team All-Pro three times (1979, 1980, 1982) … Second-Team All-Pro three times … All-AFC twice … Voted to five consecutive Pro Bowls … Named to Super Bowl Silver Anniversary Team … Born August 26, 1952 in Whitmire, South Carolina.

BIO

Donnie Shell Pittsburgh Steelers

“Once I proved to myself, I was learning, I knew I would make it. I’ve always believed in myself and I’ve always worked hard enough to be successful at whatever I take on.”

Donnie Shell, a two-time team MVP and All-Mid-Eastern Conference player at South Carolina State, signed as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1974.

A fierce hitter, Shell intercepted at least one pass in each of his 14 seasons with the Steelers.  His 51 interceptions made him the first strong safety in the history of the National Football League to surpass the 50-interception mark.  

One of seven brothers in a family of 10, Shell methodically progressed through the ranks from a special teams player and a part-time defensive back as a rookie, to a starting strong safety, earning that spot in 1977 when he replaced former Pro Bowler Glen Edwards. 

Following the 1978 season he was named to the first of his five consecutive Pro Bowl teams.  He was also named first- or second-team All-Pro five times, 1978 through 1982.

In 1980 Shell led all Steelers defenders with a career-high seven interceptions and was named the team’s MVP.  In a 1981 game against archrival Cleveland Browns, the ball-hawking Shell became the first Steeler since 1973 to have three interceptions in a single game. 

Shell, in 1984, duplicated his team- and career-best seven-interception effort. Counting 1982, 1983 and 1986 when he was team co-leader in interceptions, he led or shared the lead in interceptions five out of seven years.  Adding to the significance of his accomplishments, his five interceptions in 1982 came during a strike-shortened, nine-game season.

In addition to having a nose for the ball, Shell was also a devastating tackler.  He led the team in tackles in both 1982 and 1984, and was the leading tackler in the Steelers secondary for six consecutive years (1981-1986). 

His 51 career interceptions rank him third in Steelers history, behind Hall of Famer Mel Blount (57) and Jack Butler (52), and his 19 opponent fumble recoveries are just behind Hall of Famer Jack Ham (21) as a second-best performance by a Steeler. A durable player, Shell is tied for second most seasons played behind only Hall of Fame center Mike Webster.

STATS

Donnie Shell's Stats

 

 

 

 

Interceptions

 

 

Year

Team

G

No.

Yds.

Avg.

TD

1974

Pittsburgh

14

1

0

0.0

0

1975

Pittsburgh

14

1

29

29.0

0

1976

Pittsburgh

14

1

4

4.0

0

1977

Pittsburgh

12

3

14

4.7

0

1978

Pittsburgh

16

3

21

7.0

0

1979

Pittsburgh

16

5

10

2.0

0

1980

Pittsburgh

16

7

135

19.3

0

1981

Pittsburgh

14

5

52

10.4

0

1982

Pittsburgh

9

5

27

5.4

0

1983

Pittsburgh

16

5

18

2.6

0

1984

Pittsburgh

16

7

61

15.3

1

1985

Pittsburgh

16

4

40

13.3

0

1986

Pittsburgh

15

3

29

29.0

0

1987

Pittsburgh

13

1

50

1.0

1

Career Total

201

51

490

9.6

2

               
 

Additional Career Statistics: Receiving: 2-39; Punt Returns, 1-6; Fumble Recoveries for TD: 2



CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES

Donnie Shell's Championship Games

Championship Games
 

1974 AFCPittsburgh Steelers 24, Oakland Raiders 13

Shell did not start but played.  He had three tackles and one pass defensed.


1975 AFC – Pittsburgh Steelers 16, Oakland Raiders 10

Shell did not start but played.


1976 AFC – Oakland Raiders 24, Pittsburgh Steelers 7

Shell did not start but played.  He had one tackle.


1978 AFC – Pittsburgh Steelers 34, Houston Oilers 5

Shell started at strong safety.  He had six tackles and one interception for 5 yards.           


1979 AFC – Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Houston Oilers 13

Shell started at strong safety.  He had one tackle, two assists, one pass defensed, and one fumble recovery.


1984 AFC – Miami Dolphins 45, Pittsburgh Steelers 28

Shell started at strong safety.  He had three tackles, one assist, one pass defensed, and intercepted one pass for 18 yards.

 

Super Bowls
 

Super Bowl IX – Pittsburgh Steelers 16, Minnesota Vikings 6

Shell did not start but played.  He recorded one tackle.       


Super Bowl X – Pittsburgh Steelers 21, Dallas Cowboys 17

Shell did not start but played.  He recorded one tackle.


Super Bowl XIII – Pittsburgh Steelers 35, Dallas Cowboys 31

Shell started at strong safety.  He recorded five tackles, three assists, and one pass defensed.


Super Bowl XIV – Pittsburgh Steelers 31, Los Angeles Rams 19

Shell started at strong safety.  He recorded five tackles, three assists, and one pass defensed.



CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

Donnie Shell's Career Highlights

All-League Teams

All-Pro: 1979 (AP, NEA)  ·  1980 (AP, PFWA, NEA, SN)  ·  1982 (AP, PFWA)

All-Pro Second Team: 1978 (NEA)  ·  1981 (AP)  ·  1982 (NEA)

All-AFC: 1979 (SN)  ·  1980 (UPI, PW)

All-AFC Second Team: 1978 (UPI)  ·  1981 (UPI)

 

Pro Bowls

(5) – 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983

 

Team Records

Steelers’ records held by Shell at the time of his retirement following the 1987 season

·       [Tied for 1st] Most Seasons – 14

·       [2nd] Most Games Played – 201

·       [Tied for 2nd] Most Interceptions, Game – 3 (vs. Cleveland Browns, Nov. 22, 1981)

·       [3rd] Most Interceptions, Career – 51

 

League/Team Statistical Titles

 

AFC Statistical Championships

Interception Leader: 1982*

 

Team Statistical Championships

Interception Leader: 1980, 1982*, 1983*, 1984, 1986*

* Co-leader

 

Awards and Honors

·    Super Bowl Silver Anniversary Team

 

Year-by-Year Team Records

1974     Pittsburgh Steelers........... 10-3-1  (1st)

1975     Pittsburgh Steelers........... 12-2-0   (1st)

1976     Pittsburgh Steelers........... 10-4-0   (1st)

1977     Pittsburgh Steelers............ 9-5-0   (1st)

1978     Pittsburgh Steelers........... 14-2-0   (1st)

1979     Pittsburgh Steelers........... 12-4-0   (1st)

1980     Pittsburgh Steelers............... 9-7-0   (3rd)

1981     Pittsburgh Steelers............... 8-8-0   (2nd)

1982     Pittsburgh Steelers............ 6-3-0   (4th*)

1983     Pittsburgh Steelers........... 10-6-0   (1st)

1984     Pittsburgh Steelers............ 9-7-0   (1st)

1985     Pittsburgh Steelers............... 7-9-0   (3rd)

1986     Pittsburgh Steelers............. 6-10-0   (3rd)

1987     Pittsburgh Steelers............... 8-7-0   (3rd)

* AFC regular season finish in strike-shortened season.

(Division Finish in Parentheses)

CAREER CAPSULE

Donnie Shell's Career Capsule

Full Name: Donnie Shell

Birthdate: August 26, 1952

Birthplace: Whitmire, South Carolina

High School: Whitmire (SC)

Pro Career: 14 seasons, 201 games

Drafted: Signed as a free agent by Pittsburgh in 1974.



ENSHRINEMENT SPEECH

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