In what really was the first public acknowledgement of the Rushel Shell transfer rumors that began to surface yesterday, Pittsburgh Panthers head coach Paul Chryst somewhat addressed the situation to the media today. And, by somewhat, I mean that he offered really very little insight. But, he offered some insight nonetheless.
The statement released by Chryst early Thursday morning did acknowledge that Shell is not participating in spring drills at the moment, which had already been reported. It was Shell’s absence from practices that first caused the transfer rumor mill to start swirling in the first place.
Chryst would go on to announce that the projected Panthers starting running back would be taking a leave of absence from the team to deal with what he described as “off the field challenges”. The coach said that his concern primarily is for Shell’s well-being at this time, and that he had the full support of the University of Pittsburgh football program.
It should be noted that the coach did not mention anything about the back transferring. Also, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Wednesday that Shell has currently not filed any paperwork with the school.
Whatever the case may be, this is not a situation the school wants to find itself in. This is a landmark year for the Panthers as they enter their first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Not only are they enjoying their inaugural season in the conference, they are front-and-center the first week, with a Labor Day night game scheduled against the Florida State Seminoles on national television.
As far as Shell goes, you have to wish nothing but the best for the young man and whatever he is attending to at the moment.