It was 2012 and Golden had signed as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Arizona.
Rooney was a legendary NFL figure, the man who helped build one of the league’s greatest dynasties, and couldn’t possibly be expected to know this unheralded rookie.
“The first time I met Mr. Rooney was in the parking lot of our facility,” Golden, a former Edison High star told The Bee on Thursday. “Mr. Rooney was walking into the facility and I held the door open for him and I said, ‘How you doing Mr. Rooney?’ He said, ‘Just fine, Robert.’
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“I was shocked he knew my name. He told me to keep working hard and I had a chance to be a Steeler for a long time and I told him he would never have to worry about my work ethic.”
The Steelers and the rest of the NFL are mourning the passing of Mr. Rooney, who earlier in the day died at age 84.
When you think about how great the Steelers have been and the tradition of the Pittsburgh Steelers, you can’t help but think of Mr. Rooney.
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Robert Golden
“Mr. Rooney was the standard for the Pittsburgh Steelers,” Golden said. “When you think about how great the Steelers have been and the tradition of the Pittsburgh Steelers, you can’t help but think of Mr. Rooney. They say every great organization starts from the top and clearly that’s a true statement when you think about the Pittsburgh Steelers.”
Golden said every day he had been at the team complex since joining the Steelers, he saw Mr. Rooney.
“Mr. Rooney didn’t speak much but when he did you paid attention,” Golden said. “He always recognized talent when he saw it. Always encouraged me to keep working and keep getting better.”