Ambassador Rooney Present at League Meetings, Could Return to Pittsburgh after 2012

Tribune-Review writer Scott Brown reports Steelers chairman emeritus Dan Rooney is at the NFL owner's meeting in West Palm Beach, Fla., adding fuel to speculation the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland will step down from his post after 2012, and possibly rejoin the Steelers front office on a full-time basis.

Rooney was given the position upon the election of President Barack Obama in 2008. Rooney threw his hat into Obama's corner during his campaign, en route to the Steelers sixth Super Bowl victory a few weeks after Obama took office. He was appointed to his ambassador position on St. Patrick's Day of 2009.

It seemed fitting the Steelers would play a game in Dublin at some point during his tenure, but if he steps down, that won't come to fruition. Rooney has said he'd be happy to see the Steelers play in Ireland, but speculation suggests the Steelers lease on Heinz Field stipulates they play a certain amount of home games there, meaning the Steelers would have to play as the visiting team.

It's tough for teams to give up a home game outside their stadium, and not every team has the ability to do it. It certainly doesn't rule out the possibility of it happening at some point in the future.

The Patriots will be "hosted" by the Rams Oct. 28, 2012, at Wembley Stadium in London in this year's installment of the NFL's International Series.

As for Steelers-related business, Brown spoke with Rooney about the release of LB James Farrior, DE Aaron Smith and WR Hines Ward.

""Those guys were great players, and they're tremendous people," Rooney said. "You hope they continue to have an association with us, and I think they will. They're always welcome to come back and see us."

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