Former Pittsburgh great Ike Taylor joined The Jim Rome Show on Friday to talk about the passing of his former boss and close friend, Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney. A day after Rooney’s death, Taylor was still struggling with the news, a man he considered to be family.
“Hurting reaction, I looked at former Ambassador Dan Rooney as a dad to me. I called him pops, for a reason,” an emotional Taylor said. “[I] sat in his office, talked to him not only about football but just like life in general. So when you got a guy of that stature nationally known, who’s one the founders of the NFL as far as getting things done, him just dying, it’s taken a toll on me mentally, because we talked in the off-season.
“I checked up on him to see how he was doing. He’s a very stubborn guy, very funny but him just passing away man, I lost a lot of light, but let alone the NFL just in general lost a good man, let alone the world just lost a good human being in Papa Rooney.”
Being a man of great means, Rooney remained a humble and kind person who didn’t spend his wealth on himself.
“The man had a briefcase… We finally as an organization had to get him a different briefcase for his birthday like five years ago, because the man had the same briefcase for like 40 odd years. The same go-to-work briefcase,” Taylor laughed. “As far as like suits, he’d rotate four or five suits. The man was still driving a Buick. A Buick, Rome! Papa Rooney driving a Buick. So that let me know like none of this materialistic stuff really matters. I have an owner who could pretty much afford whatever he wants, and he’s downgraded to everything.
“When I was able to get some money, I loved the materialistic stuff. I wanted the flashy cars, I wanted the Rolex’s, like I wanted the designers clothes, but just watching him over a period of time, that didn’t matter and it rubbed off on me.”
Taylor made it clear, the two-time Super Bowl champion truly loved Rooney.
“If Gandhi and Mother Teresa were to have a son, it would be Papa Rooney. That’s how humble, that’s how peaceful, that’s how good of a guy he is. He just rubs off on you,” Taylor said. “When you want to talk about family, he is family. He is the definition of love. That’s how he walked, that’s how he carried himself. He didn’t stay too far from the stadium when his health was good. He’d walk to the home games. Papa Rooney man, just overall just a genuine, authentic, good dude.”