The Steeler Nation was hit with some devastating news Thursday afternoon, and their quarterback was not immune.
Ben Roethlisberger made his first public comments since the death of team chairman and former owner Dan Rooney, joining CBS radio in Pittsburgh on Friday to make sure he recognized all the man had done for him.
“It’s a sad time in Pittsburgh for Steelers fans, Steeler nation, all over the world, it just feels like we’ve lost a big part of our soul and who we are,” Roethlisberger said.
The quarterback admitted that had it not been for Rooney, he may not have ended up in Pittsburgh.
“Going into that draft room, he didn’t go in there and boss them around, and say ‘listen this is what we’re doing,’ but he started the conversation and said ‘hey, let’s take a look at this guy and let’s think about it,'” Roethlisberger said. “I owe him such a debt of gratitude.”
Roethlisberger joked that the two Super Bowls he’s won were simply a way for him to repay Rooney before going on to express what the impactful owner meant to him.
“Totally selfless, a guy that would walk to the stadium and interact with people, was never too big for anybody,” said Roethlisberger of Rooney. “The last game of the year, my wife and kids were waiting in the tunnel after the game, and Benjamin (his son) is sitting on the ground, he doesn’t know who Mr. Rooney is, but he smiles at him, because it’s so easy to smile at Mr. Rooney. He looks down at Benjamin and puts his hand out and says ‘what a smile, what a cute little kid.’
“From presidents to kids to the average guy on the street, same in his book.”
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