The football world lost a legend last week, as Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney passed away at the age of 84. His death reverberated all across the NFL, hitting home for Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders.
Before Sanders donned No. 10 for Denver, he wore No. 88 in Pittsburgh; spending his four seasons with the Steelers.
“That was sad to see,” Sanders said of the passing of Rooney. “I was on a plane when I heard it…it just made me think back to how incredible he was.”
It was a fitting place for Sanders to learn the unfortunate news. Rooney loved to fly. Sanders recounted a story from Steelers linebacker James Harrison saying as much.
“Even when everyone was telling him to it still, he was still moving around, trying to fly his plane around,” Sanders said. “I remember James Harrison telling stories about how he was up in a plan with him one time, he was flying; and James was like ‘what is going on? How can he fly this plane?’”
Not only will Rooney be remembered for his high-flying ways. For Sanders, he will also be remembered for the way he treated people.
“[He was] just an amazing man,” Sanders said. “He always treated you with the utmost respect, treated you not like I was No. 88, but like I was Emmanuel Sanders, like I was a human being. He will definitely forever be remembered.”