CHARLOTTE – After a legendary NFL career both on and off the field, former Panthers director of player development Donnie Shell has earned a spot in Canton as a new member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Shell was named Wednesday as one of 15 members of the Centennial Class of 2020 to be inducted in celebration of the NFL's 100th year.
A member of the Pittsburgh Steelers' infamous "Steel Curtain" defense in the 70s, Shell spent the latter part of his pro football career in Carolina after wrapping up his playing days. Shell served as the director of the Panthers' player development program for 15 years from 1994 to 2009, and under his leadership the program earned several honors.
Shell was seen as a pioneer in the player development field, and in 1998 and 1999 he earned the "Best Player Programs" award from the NFL before taking home the "Most Outstanding Player Programs" honor in 2000. His programs emphasized setting players up for success following their on-field careers by assisting them with financial education, family assistance, career internships and continuing education. In 2002, the NFL Player Development Department honored Shell by creating the Winston/Shell Award which has been presented annually to the club with the most creative player development program.
Shell marks the fourth person connected to the Panthers organization to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, joining former players Kevin Greene and Reggie White, as well as former general manager Bill Polian.