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Chryst says Rushel Shell is ‘working through some challenges right now’

With rumors swirling over the past day or so about the future of Pitt running back Rushel Shell, Panthers coach Paul Chryst has decided to clarify situation. Sort of, anyway.

In a statement released Thursday morning, Chryst said Shell is taking time away from football to work on what sounds to be personal issues. What those issues are -- if that is indeed the case -- and how long Shell will need to sort through them remains to be seen.

“Like many college freshmen, Rushel is working through some challenges right now. As it is for all members of our team, my most important concern is his personal well-being,” Chryst said. “Rushel and his family have our full support. We are giving him time away from football to work through this situation but he very much remains a part of our family on a daily basis. We want to be sensitive and respectful of Rushel, and I would ask others to do the same.”

Multiple reports from Tuesday night and Wednesday morning stated that Shell was considering transferring from Pitt, possibly to Arizona State where he would be reunited with former Panthers coach Todd Graham. It should be noted, however, that the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Wednesday that no paperwork had been filed by Shell as of yet.

Obviously, it would be a huge loss if Shell were to transfer from the Panthers. As the primary backup to Ray Graham last season, Shell rushed for 641 yards and four touchdowns. A former blue-chip recruit who signed with Pitt in 2012, he was projected as the starting RB this year.