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Taylor emotional talking about his mentor

It's about as unique a relationship you will see in the NFL, a player and an owner who have such a close relationship that the one refers to the other as "Pops" or "Papa."

In the case of Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor and team chairman Dan Rooney Sr., that's the way they roll.

Taylor is so close to Rooney that last March when rumors were swirling about Taylor's future with the Steelers he called Rooney on his cell phone to talk things out. Rooney eased Taylor's mind, and not long after the rumors quieted down.

Taylor relies heavily on Rooney's guidance, and in turn is protective and respectful of Rooney, having a true love for him. It's the type of relationship that is almost indescribable, an athlete with a hip-hop flavor and a former United States Ambassador sharing a private handshake. It really doesn't get any better than that.

Taylor considers Rooney to be his mentor, and is one of several Steelers who recently shared the story of who his mentor is with the Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania (MPSWPA) in celebration of January being National Mentoring Month.

"He is one of my mentors because he is humble, conservative, respectful and he treats people right," said Taylor. "His door is always open."

And when he says his door is always open, he means it.

"One day I was super tired. He saw it," said Taylor. "He let me sleep in his office. I must have took a two-and-half, three hour nap. When you have a guy of that stature, Hall of Fame, he doesn't have to care about anybody but himself, but he does care about people. That took me to a whole other level."

Taylor even got emotional when talking about Rooney.

"So Papa, I am glad to be asked to talk about you," said Taylor. "You are one of my favorite …. I'm getting very emotional and I am not going to let you all see me get emotional. I might.

"I've watched you over the years I've been here. I've watched how you handle people. I've watched the moves you make. I watch how people respect you. That changed my life. Papa, man I love you so much. I love the whole Rooney family. I told you from the beginning I am a Rooney and it's going to always be like that."

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