Obama, others, react to death of Steelers' Rooney

Reaction was swift from around the NFL and beyond following the death of Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney on Thursday.

From a myriad of team owners and others, all mourned the loss of one of the most respected and powerful league owners who took over operation of the Steelers in the 1960s from his father, Art.

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''Dan Rooney was a great friend of mine, but more importantly, he was a great friend to the people of Pittsburgh, a model citizen, and someone who represented the United States with dignity and grace on the world stage.'' - former President Barack Obama.

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''Dan was my mentor, role model, indispensable supporter and great friend during five decades. In the NFL, he is irreplaceable. Our thoughts and prayers are with Patricia and his exceptional family.'' - former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

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''Pennsylvania has lost a true icon and one of our most revered citizens, civic leaders and public servants. Dan Rooney was truly loyal and dedicated to the tremendous organization he built and the city and country that he loved to serve.'' - Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf.

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''When we first met in 2010 you embraced me with open arms. You made me feel welcome. You looked at me as more than just another jersey number. One of the most genuine, and humble human beings I've had the pleasure of knowing. You motivated me not only to excel on the field but also in life.'' - Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown.

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''The Rooneys are a royal family in the National Football League, and Dan more than capably followed in the footsteps of his father, Art, a league founder. He shaped the league with instincts, wisdom and a soft-spoken velvet touch. He was a steward and a guardian for the growth and popularity of the NFL, because he loved the game so much.'' - Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

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''Tomorrow, the flag at the Pro Football Hall of Fame will fly at half-staff in honor of one of the greatest men to ever serve this game. We will keep his wife Pat and the entire Rooney family in our prayers and hope they find comfort in knowing that Dan's legacy will forever be kept alive in Canton, Ohio.'' - Pro Football Hall of Fame President and CEO David Baker.

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''Dan Rooney was one of the greatest owners in all of professional sports. More than that he was a great friend who was a man of principle and a role model for any of us privileged to be a part of the NFL. He leaves a legacy on our sport that will last for generations.'' - New York Giants President and CEO John Mara.

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''When Dan Rooney spoke at a league meeting, the entire room became quiet, because everybody wanted to hear what he had to say. That's the kind of respect he commanded from our group. He has also the conscience of the NFL, always stressing what was best for the game, the players, and the fans. Everything he did was done with class, dignity and humility. He was, quite simply, a great man.'' - Chicago Bears Chairman George H. McCaskey.

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For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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