Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

First Training Camp without Dan Rooney'not the Same' Team President Who Died in April Remembered as Fixture at Saint Vincent and Friend to Players

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

First Training Camp without Dan Rooney'not the Same' Team President Who Died in April Remembered as Fixture at Saint Vincent and Friend to Players

Article excerpt

Much remains familiar for the Steelers as they ease into their 52nd training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe. The dorms, the practice fields Joe Greene first stepped on as a pro, the majestic willows framing the edge of those fields, the Laurel Mountains that heavy haze sometimes obscure, even the cafeteria in which they eat.

There is one noticeable difference. Dan Rooney is not here.

"It's not the same," said defensive captain Cam Heyward. "You noticed it the first day."

Art Rooney II, Dan's eldest son and his successor as Steelers president, addressed the team as he usually does and mentioned his father, who died April 13 at age 84.

"I thanked them for so many kind words and support, so many came to the funeral," Art said. "They were just great. I thanked them and let them know that a lot of us are going to be thinking about him and we're all in this together."

A commemorative mass for Dan Rooney will take place at the Saint Vincent Basilica on the college campus at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Father Paul Taylor presiding. Many of the players, coaches and others in the Steelers organization will attend. It is open to the public.

"We've been doing an opening of training camp mass for the last couple of years," Art Rooney II said. "This one will be dedicated to him and a nice way to remember him in our prayers."

Rooney attended many masses at the Basilica during the previous 51summers the Steelers made their home here. He often flew his own plane from Pittsburgh, and buzzed the campus on his way in and out of Arnold Palmer Regional Airport across Route 30 from Saint Vincent.

"Some of the younger guys didn't understand when he flew over top," said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, in his 14th training camp. "I'd say that's Mr. Rooney, and they said 'no, it's not.' Yeah, it really is.

"We'll miss that, miss him on the golf cart, miss the handshakes. …

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