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Rooney to return as Steelers chairman

| Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, 3:52 p.m.

ARLINGTON, Texas — Dan Rooney is returning to his position as Steelers chairman, the position he held before becoming U.S. ambassador to Ireland in 2009.

Rooney's title with the Steelers had been chairman emeritus while ambassador.

Rooney resigned as ambassador on Friday after serving one term. That is often the case with posts involving non-career employees of the State Department.

“I plan to be involved with the team and the organization in every way I can,” Rooney said Sunday before the Steelers-Cowboys game. “I would want to become involved again in league matters where I can be helpful. I will discuss my specific role with the team with Art (Rooney II, his son and the Steelers' president), and I will talk with Roger Goodell about league matters.”

Rooney was one of the NFL's most active and influential owners before leaving his day-to-day role with the team. Goodell, the NFL commissioner, leaned heavily on Rooney for advice and guidance before Rooney accepted the ambassadorship.

Rooney resigned his position on various NFL committees after accepting the ambassador's job. Among other positions, he was chairman of the diversity committee, which developed the Rooney Rule requiring minority candidates to be interviewed for coaching and major administrative positions. He also served on the economic committee.

Rooney, 80, left Ireland on Friday attended a memorial service for his late daughter Rita in Boston on Saturday before heading to Arlington, Texas, for Sunday's Steelers game.

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at arobinson@tribweb.com.

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