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McCaskey: Rooney was an NFL giant

Bears chairman George H. McCaskey offered his condolences Thursday following the death of Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney at the age of 84.

Rooney took over as Steelers owner from his father, Art, in the 1960s and helped lead Pittsburgh to six Super Bowl championships, including four in a six-year span in the 1970s. Rooney also served as U.S. ambassador to Ireland from 2009-12.

"Ambassador Rooney was one of the giants of our game," McCaskey said in a statement, "His quiet counsel to league commissioners going back to Bert Bell was invaluable to the success of the NFL. When Dan Rooney spoke at a league meeting, the entire room became quiet, because everybody wanted to hear what he had to say. That's the kind of respect he commanded from our group.

"He was also the conscience of the NFL, always stressing what was best for the game, the players, and the fans. Everything he did was done with class, dignity and humility. He was, quite simply, a great man. Our condolences to his wife Pat, his son Art, the Steelers organization, and Steelers Nation. May the road rise up to meet him…."

Bears coach John Fox, who began his NFL coaching career with the Steelers as a defensive assistant from 1986-91, also shared his thoughts on Mr. Rooney.

"My sincerest condolences to the Rooney family and the Pittsburgh Steelers organization on Dan's passing," Fox said in a statement. "All of us across the NFL lost a great man today. I am proud to have started my NFL coaching career with his beloved Steelers in 1986 and I will always be thankful for that opportunity. He was a first class gentleman and a gold standard as a Hall of Fame owner."

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