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Old 02-06-2010, 12:00 AM   #1
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Default Superbowl Noteboook: Ambassador Rooney seeking labor peace

Superbowl Noteboook: Ambassador Rooney seeking labor peace
Saturday, February 06, 2010
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Charles Dharapak/Post-Gazette
U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- As U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, Dan Rooney felt relieved that negotiations in Northern Ireland ended with a breakthrough Friday that saved the Catholic-Protestant government there.

"I think it's marvelous, it's terrific," Rooney said as he awaited NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's news conference here. "We've been working on it a long time."

Reaching labor peace in the NFL might take even longer. After becoming an ambassador last year, Rooney had to resign his committees in the NFL, where he long headed the peace process. He was instrumental in solving strikes in 1982 and '87 in the league and helped negotiate the current collective bargaining agreement that has been in place since 1993. But that CBA expires in 13 months and many are not optimistic a new one will be negotiated before then.

NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith on Thursday predicted a lockout of players by the owners in 2011.

"It's not an easy thing," Rooney said. "I hate to see us miss football, that's for sure. I don't know what's going to happen.''

The players went on strike in 1982 and in '87 and some games were canceled both seasons. Back in '87, Dan Rooney's father, Art, predicted the strike would ruin the league. What does his son say about the possible work stoppage that looms?

"I wouldn't say it's going to ruin the NFL, but I think it's a grave moment and people better realize where they are.''

Steelers President Art Rooney II is a member of the negotiating committee, like his father before him.

"The owners are solid," Dan Rooney said, "but they do not want a work stoppage. They are not looking for a work stoppage, which would not be good for the game."

Rooney, who has missed only two Super Bowls for health reasons, will return to Pittsburgh after Sunday's game and then fly back to Ireland on Monday.
LeBeau's day?

Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is considered a favorite to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame today when the Class of 2010 is announced.

LeBeau is one of two seniors candidates who join 15 modern-day candidates for election. LeBeau, who will be judged on his playing career as a cornerback for the Detroit Lions, joins former Denver Broncos running back Floyd Little as the two seniors nominees.

The two seniors are involved in a separate vote from the modern-day candidates and both can be elected. As many as five modern-day candidates could join them in this year's class, which will be inducted in August. Former Steelers center Dermontti Dawson is among the candidates, as is former Pitt and Southmoreland High School standout Russ Grimm, who played center for the Washington Redskins.
Ed Bouchette: ebouchette@post-gazette.com.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10037...#ixzz0ejUovZJh
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