Joining Steelers' ownership excites Stallworth
As his Super Bowl exploits attest, John Stallworth has a knack for rising to the occasion. Therefore, it is not surprising that Dan and Art Rooney II approached Stallworth as they were trying to keep the Steelers in the only family that has ever owned the franchise.
Their meeting with Stallworth last November led to the Pro Football Hall of Famer becoming the most high-profile member of the investment group the Rooneys are putting together, as they restructure ownership to comply with NFL rules.
The two sides are working out details, but Stallworth told the Tribune-Review he officially expects to become a limited Steelers partner within the next two months.
"I could not be more excited about the opportunity," said Stallworth, who became a successful businessman after playing for the Steelers from 1974-87. "Didn't see it coming. I thought about it, I prayed about it and talked to my wife, and we thought it would be a good opportunity."
Stallworth first talked about the opportunity with the Rooneys when he returned to Pittsburgh for the Steelers' Nov. 9 game against the Indianapolis Colts. When Dan and Art Rooney II announced the addition of Stallworth to their ownership group near the end of March, it did not come as a surprise to his former teammates.
"Trust me, Dan doesn't just ask anybody to be an owner," said former Steelers safety Donnie Shell, who is close friends with Stallworth. "He knows we came in and loved that organization."
His desire to keep the Steelers in the Rooney family -- Dan and Art II are buying some or all of the shares that Dan's four younger brothers have in the team -- played a significant part in Stallworth agreeing to join the new ownership group.
"I think that's in the best interests of the Steelers," Stallworth said, "and certainly in the best interests for the city of Pittsburgh and the team staying a part of the city."
Stallworth is one of the most beloved players in Steelers history in part because of his heroics in two of the four Super Bowls the team won in the late 1970s. Stallworth had more than 100 yards receiving in victories over the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams, and his iconic touchdown catch against the latter gave the Steelers the lead for good in Super Bowl XIV.
Stallworth is still prominent in the Steelers' record books and leads the team with 25 career 100-yard receiving games.
Stallworth had been the president and CEO of Madison Research Corp., in Huntsville, Ala., before selling the technology company in 2006. He is currently a partner in Genesis II, which manages charitable organizations started by Stallworth and various business associates.
His new position with the Steelers might compel Stallworth to attend more home games, but he said he doesn't expect to an active role as far as running the team.
"No, no, no. I'm an investor," Stallworth said. "The day-to-day, year-to-year management of the Steelers will stay with the Rooneys."
Note: University of North Carolina tight end Richard Quinn became the latest college prospect to visit the Steelers when he met with coaches Wednesday at the team's South Side practice facility. The 6-foot-4, 260-pound Quinn played sparingly at North Carolina and had only 12 catches for 124 yards and a pair of touchdowns during his career.
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