Chargers release statement on passing of Steelers owner Dan Rooney

Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney watches from a cart during a 2015 practice

After some sad news, the Minnesota Vikings offered some kind words about the career of Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney.

Mr. Rooney, who also served as USA ambassador to Ireland, took over day-to-day management of the Steelers in the 1960s from his father, Art Rooney, who bought the franchise in 1933. "A member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he was one of the finest men in the history of our game and it was a privilege to work alongside him for so many years. He would let the players take care of me". The Steelers most recently won it all in 2009.

Rooney also served as the USA ambassador to Ireland from 2009-2012, becoming the first ambassador from the visit each of Ireland's 32 counties. The next day there was a picture of me and Mr. Rooney in the Scene column of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette!

Rooney had a vibrant life outside football.

In 2003, when Mr. Rooney chaired the NFL's diversity committee, he led a movement to require each franchise to interview minority candidates while searching for head coaches or top front-office employees. Mr. Rooney was a great man and true leader who always put others before himself.

Perhaps Rooney's most lasting contribution to the National Football League - and to sports in general - came with the Rooney Rule. He was a high school quarterback and was a 1955 graduate of Duquesne University in his home town. "Dan was a personal friend of mine and the proudest Irish supporter of the Pittsburgh Steelers", Taoiseach Enda Kenny said.

When the franchise briefly stumbled during the turn of the millennium, missing the playoffs each year from 1998-2000, the Steelers signed Cowher to an extension. "We will keep his wife Pat and the entire Rooney family in our prayers and hope they find comfort in knowing that Dan's legacy will forever be kept alive in Canton, Ohio". He shaped the league with instincts, wisdom and a soft-spoken velvet touch.



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