Dan Rooney would’ve turned 86 today. To honor his birthday, Antonio Brown wrote him a message on his Instagram account.
“Dear Mr. Rooney. You would have been 86 today ! I am reminded of your character and generosity. All I have to do is look down, the 84 in part represents the 84 years you graced this earth making an impact. Your passion for the game, people and life are a constant motivation for me. Thank you”
You can click through the slideshow Brown uploaded along with the text showing photos of him and Mr. Rooney throughout the years. It includes one of the letters Rooney sent him after winning the Dapper Dan Award in 2015, thanking him for what he’s brought to the organization and wishing his family well.
It was the Rooney family, and the Steelers organization, who took a chance on the little-known underclassmen receiver from the MAC back in 2010. And hopefully, it’s looking that way at least, Pittsburgh will be the only team Brown ever plays with. He’s said in the past, prior to getting his new contract in 2017, that his goal was to retire a Steeler.
He’ll also retire holding virtually every team receiving record. He’s barely more than 2000 yards behind Hines Ward for most receiving yards and less than 300 catches away from surpassing him there too. Touchdowns may be the most difficult one to break, Ward has 85 and Brown currently sits at 59, but even averaging just six touchdowns per season means he can break that five seasons from now.
And though Brown has a bit of an ego, as virtually every elite receiver has, he’s remained humble and hasn’t forgotten his roots. That includes a nation-wide tour that’s about to wrap up, visiting high school athletes and sharing his story. Such humility extends to the team he plays for today, too, and was a great gesture to see.