The Hall of Fame induction ceremony is still months away, but Tony Dungy has already chosen who will present him. According to the Tampa Bay Tribune's Ira Kaufman, Dungy has picked former Steelers teammate Donnie Shell to be the one presenting him during the August 6 ceremony in Canton, Ohio, when Dungy and the other seven members of the Class of 2016 are officially enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Dungy's playing career with the Pittsburgh Steelers was short-lived but very impactful and molding for the young man. Dungy played two seasons with the Steelers, playing in 34 games (including playoffs) as a defensive back (starting two) and recording nine interceptions and three fumble recoveries. He also briefly served as the Steelers' emergency quarterback for a game in 1977 (he played quarterback in college), completing just three of eight passes for 43 yards and two interceptions. In 1978, Dungy led the Steelers in interceptions with six as they went on to win the Super Bowl. After spending one year with the 49ers, Dungy then retired and entered coaching, soon going back to Pittsburgh to coach on Chuck Noll's staff after a year coaching at the University of Minnesota.
In an odd twist, Donnie Shell was actually both a teammate of Dungy's in the Steelers secondary (for two years) and then a player for Dungy (for eight years) as Dungy was a defensive assistant, defensive backs coach, and defensive coordinator for the Steelers while Shell was still playing. During a 14-year career (all with the Steelers), Shell played in 201 games (starting 162) and recorded 51 interceptions (two returned for touchdowns), 19 fumble recoveries (two returned for touchdowns), and a sack. He was a five-time Pro Bowler and a three-time first-team All-Pro as a defensive back, being a part of four Super Bowl champion teams with the Steelers.
"Donnie Shell is a great person and he was quite a player,'' Dungy told Kaufman. "He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame someday.''
While Dungy thinks his former teammate (and player) Donnie Shell should be in the Hall of Fame, it will instead be Shell presenting Dungy as the former head coach is enshrined in Canton this August. In 13 years as a head coach (six with the Buccaneers and seven with the Colts), Dungy compiled a 139-69 record (.668), a winning percentage that ranks 12th all-time. He made eleven playoff appearances in thirteen years as a head coach and only had a losing season once - his first year after taking over one of the league's worst franchises. He built the Buccaneers into a contender, and then he reached an even higher level of success with the Colts, making the playoffs in every season and winning a Super Bowl title - becoming the first African-American head coach to do so.