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Joe Greene: 'He was a special man'

Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney touched so many lives, from the men who played for him, to presidents and world leaders.

Many of them shared their memories of the man they called a friend. 


Hall of Fame DT Joe Greene:**
"When you talk about leadership, the image that comes to mind is Dan Rooney.

"He was a special man, a special man. He has proven that, not that he has to prove anything. He has been that way all of his life. He has proven to be a man of strength and conviction, quiet strength.

"He was fair. He was always fair. I never heard him raise his voice or speak in anger. He was a quiet leader who led from his strength. I always thought he was honest and fair with me. I saw that same character come out when he was dealing with other issues. He was a special man."President Barack Obama:"Dan Rooney was a great friend of mine, but more importantly, he was a great friend to the people of Pittsburgh, a model citizen, and someone who represented the United States with dignity and grace on the world stage.  I knew he'd do a wonderful job when I named him as our United States Ambassador to Ireland, but naturally, he surpassed my high expectations, and I know the people of Ireland think fondly of him today.  And I know the people of Pittsburgh, who loved him not only for the Super Bowl championships he brought as the owner of the Steelers, but for his generosity of spirit, mourn his passing today.  Michelle and I offer our condolences to the Rooney family, some of the most gracious and thoughtful people we know - even as we celebrate the life of Dan Rooney: a championship-caliber good man."**

A photo gallery of images spanning the life and career of Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney.

Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland:**
"I have heard with sadness of the passing of Dan Rooney, former US ambassador to Ireland and co-founder of the Ireland Funds. Sabina and I remember Ambassador Rooney and his family's visit to us in Aras an Uachtarain with fondness. Deeply committed to Ireland and the Irish people, he was always conscious of his Irish roots. He was a major contributor to the Ireland Funds. Thanks to his contributions and those of others many projects promoting peace and reconciliation in Ireland were initiated, leaving a real and tangible legacy.

"All of those who met him were quick to realize his love for his native Pittsburgh and for the game of American Football. Followers of that sport will also remember him for the Rooney Rule, and his efforts at promoting greater inclusion and diversity within the sport. Sabina and I offer sympathy to his family and friends."

Gen. Michael V. Hayden, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, who grew up on the North Side and attended North Catholic High School:
"I had loving parents, but Dan Rooney was the Pittsburgher who introduced me to the broader world. I was a college student, and I first saw the ocean from the back seat of a car driven by Dan in Narragansett, R.I, at the Steelers training facility there. He offered me mentorship, support, and comfort for the next half century."

Hall of Fame RB Franco Harris:
"I picture Dan being the City of Pittsburgh, all of Western Pennsylvania, that everybody loved him and felt that they knew him and that he was part of them and they were part of him. I guess everybody felt that they could share in him and that's a special feeling. For me personally, there's no doubt when he took over running the Steelers that it put us on a course and a whole different direction. With him hiring Chuck Noll and the first pick being Joe Greene and then just everything after that…he was a good man, just a good man.

"He cared. He cared and that meant so much to all of us that Dan always cared. He had a good heart. He was a good man and that means a lot.

"I'm not going to look at what we lost; I'm going to look at what we gained. You look at the enthusiasm built in this city from what he put together and that spirit of being a winner and that spirit of giving back and doing good, helping your fellow man, making your community better – those are all the things that we gained.

"What can I say about the sports world? What he built and what he meant to the sports world is just indescribable. The things that we accomplished and the image that we set and the nation that he built, it's quite impressive."
Hall of Fame WR John Stallworth:"He always has been more than an owner. As I got to know him, I never saw the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I saw a friend, I saw a mentor. I saw someone that cared about me and my family. He has been more than the Steelers owner to me. He is a dear, dear friend and a loss that hurts me deeply. "The world lost a star, a role model. He exemplified everything that was good about Pittsburgh, about the Rooney family, about the Pittsburgh Steelers, about humanity.

"He was real. You didn't see any pretense in him. You felt when he talked about something that he felt it deeply within him. There was no question about that. You saw a real person, the depth of emotion, passion, concern. People respected that."
Hall of Fame CB Mel Blount:

"He was a father figure. When I came to Pittsburgh as a young kid, his leadership and stability allowed people like me to grow and develop and become not just a better player, but a better person. I thought so much of him I asked him to introduce me into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I would go in his office and talk with him. I admired him. I think he has set such a high standard for all of the NFL owners. There is so much we can learn from the way he lived his life, and how he loved his family and community. He was a special guy.

"We lost a great ambassador to the game of football. Not just Steelers Nation, but the whole game of football and the sports world lost a tremendous figure, a leader. People who came in contact with him are better people just from being around him."Hall of Fame RB Jerome Bettis:

"He meant so much to me. He was an owner that really cared about you as a person. He got to know you not from an owner-player relationship; it was a friend-to-friend relationship. It was genuine, that is rare in this day. He was a real guy that happened to be the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"A lot of people don't know he touched every single player. Nobody knows how much he meant to so many people. He was a giant of a man, not giant in stature, but as a man, as a person. The NFL lost someone special, the Pittsburgh Steelers lost someone special and the City of Pittsburgh lost someone special."Hall of Fame WR Lynn Swann:

"Dan served a greater purpose for the entire league in his passion for the game and doing things the right way. I think the Rooney Rule was monumental for minorities in the league in all positions. We're still seeing it and we're still seeing it not just in professional football, but in all of sports and college football.

"Dan was true and consistent in what he believed and how he pushed the team and continued to have us get better and move forward. He was extremely important to our football team and extremely important to the league.

"The National Football League and sports has lost a consultant, a counselor, a revered voice about what's right for the game. I don't care who you were in the league and what team you represented, I think everybody in the league could pick up the phone and seek counsel from Dan Rooney, and Dan Rooney would give you what he felt was the best advice for the world of football and yourself. I think people trusted Dan."

Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue:
"Dan Rooney was an extraordinary man of faith, conviction, reason and peace. 

"He loved his family, his Steelers and his Pittsburgh.  His values were of America, Ireland and his Church. He was an inspiration to millions throughout America, and in many other lands.  He was at home on mean streets, in locker rooms and chapels, with Presidents, Popes, poets and visionaries. Few have served so many so well.

"Dan was my mentor, role model, indispensable supporter and great friend during five decades. In the NFL, he is irreplaceable.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Patricia and his exceptional family."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell:
"Few men have contributed as much to the National Football League as Dan Rooney.  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.  Dan's dedication to the game, to the players and coaches, to his beloved Pittsburgh, and to Steelers fans everywhere was unparalleled.  He was a role model and trusted colleague to commissioners since Bert Bell, countless NFL owners, and so many others in and out of the NFL.  A voice of reason on a wide range of topics, including diversity and labor relations, Dan always had the league's best interests at heart.  For my part, Dan's friendship and counsel were both inspiring and irreplaceable.  My heart goes out to Patricia, Art, and the entire Rooney family on the loss of this extraordinary man. "

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