Rooney leaves legacy in Pittsburgh, at Duquesne

This Nov. 2, 2014 file photo shows Pittsburgh Steelers Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Greene, left, hugging Steelers chairman Dan Rooney following a ceremony to retire Greene’s jersey number 75 at half time of an NFL football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens, in Pittsburgh. The Steelers announced that Mr. Rooney died Thursday, Apr.13, 2017. He was 84. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar/File)

By Andrew Holman | Sports Editor

A life well spent pretty much sums up the life of the late Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney. I was born and raised a Steelers fan, because of my dad, and I have bled Black & Gold ever since.

When I was in seventh grade, I received a book for Christmas. I am not much of a reader and truthfully, it is one of the last books I ever read. But I read it from front to back. That book was “Dan Rooney: My 75 Years with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the NFL.”

It was one of the most influential books I have ever read to this day. Mr. Rooney did things the right way in business, and more importantly, in life.

He was a football man and a family man, but he was also simply a man with an admirable heart. The lines of his book speak for themselves.

“I know this sounds impossible but in those days growing up on the North Side, we didn’t think about your skin color, or your accent, or what church you went to. What mattered was that you lived up to your word, pulled your own weight, and looked out for your friends.”

But Rooney didn’t just write these words: He lived them. His love for his players and the entire Steelers organization has been well documented. Pittsburgh is seen as the standard in the NFL for a team that consistently wins while also running things the correct way. The Steelers franchise, and the entire NFL, are better because of his presence. This is exactly why his legacy will live on forever in Canton, Ohio at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

It’s why his name precedes the Rooney Rule — a rule that was put in place to increase opportunities for minority coaches to carve their paths in the NFL world.

Mr. Rooney should be a role model for all.

He is one of the greatest men to ever grace the halls of Duquesne University, and it’s an honor to know that I am a soon-to-be graduate of his alma mater. It was a privilege to work in the Steelers’ Public Relations Department on game days last season and to see how a world class organization is run. I only wish I could have gotten to know him personally.

Most of us will never find quite the success that Mr. Rooney did through his work in the NFL, but we can all aim to carry on his legacy by living a life that follows the path he laid for us. It was a life of kindness, respect and friendship — one that those who knew him will never forget.

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