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Old 07-13-2009, 05:13 PM   #1
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Default Dan Rooney is gone, but nothing will change for Steelers

Dan Rooney is gone, but nothing will change for Steelers
July 13, 12:49 AM · Matt Pawlikowski - Pittsburgh Sports Examiner

PITTSBURGH - When the Steelers hit the fields at St.Vincent College for Training Camp, as the case every season, some things will be different from the previous year.

Gone are key contributors from the Super Bowl run in Bryant McFadden and Nate Washington who fled via free-agency.

It happens every year, and the team has found ways to plug holes. Need we say more than James Harrison, who took Joey Porter's place and is now one of the most feared players in the league.

But this year there will be one absence that will not go without notice that being Dan Rooney.

An icon in Pittsburgh and a man whom players revered, Rooney has stepped down from his daily role as chairman of the Steelers, the only employer he has worked for since 1955, to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Ireland.

Meaning he won't be floating through the dorms or the lockeroom when the Steelers put the uniforms back on. He won't be roaming the sidelines talking with media or eating lunch in the cafeteria.

Unlike the Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones of this world, Rooney was a true Pittsburgher, a down to earth, just one of the guys type of person. He was the team owner, but never got involved in trying to make changes.

It was a reason he was so revered.

Yet while Dan will be missed for the man he is, perhaps Brett Keisel's words about the Rooney family show where his teammates stand with the fact that his son Art II is now the man in charge.

“The biggest thing is how involved they are with the city of Pittsburgh . It seems to me that they are so involved with the community and their players’ well being," Defensive lineman Keisel said. " You just don’t see them when you get on the plane on Sunday. You see them every day. They come and shake your hand and tell you they are proud of you. As a player, that means a lot.”

I've had a chance to speak with Art II, and watch him over the years. While he has always been in the background, he has gotten notice from people around the NFL since taking the helm as team president back in 2003 and is a very good man, one that players will come to respect like his father. He may not be Dan, nobody ever will, but then again, nobody thought Dan could replace the Chief back in 1975.

NFL executives already seem to have garnered his respect as they voted Art II their "Executive of the Year" in 2005 following the Steelers' Super Bowl run that year. But more important, Rooney II has continued to maintain the same philosophy that his grandfather and father held in his daily running of the team.

Yes, Dan Rooney will be missed while he is in Ireland. But as Art II said not long after being named president in 2003, "Dad's philosophy always has been, go ahead and make a decision, but if it's wrong I certainly reserve the right to second-guess you."
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