Pitt running back Rushel Shell will take some "time away from football," according to a statement released by Panthers head coach Paul Chryst Thursday.
Shell, a former Hopewell High School star, has been considering a transfer from the university, but has not formally requested the paperwork to do so, according to multiple sources.
"Like many college freshmen, Rushel is working through some challenges right now," Chryst said in the statement. "As it is for all members of our team, my most important concern is his personal well-being. 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."
Shell missed Tuesday's practice with "an excused absence," and Chryst said the rising sophomore had "a couple things" he needed to work through before returning. A source indicated that Shell met with coaches Wednesday to discuss the situation.
Shell is slated to be the Panthers' starting running back heading into the 2013 season. He rushed for 641 yards and four touchdowns as a backup last season, and had been taking all of the first team reps in Pitt's spring practices.
The Panthers will hold their eighth practice of the spring season today at 2 p.m.mobilehome - breaking - pittsports
Sam Werner: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SWernerPG First Published March 28, 2013 4:30 AM