Sure sounds like Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, 76, has the inside track to be ambassador to Ireland ... and he wants it. Rooney, a co-founder of the American Ireland Fund, was in Washington at the inaugural last week and met President Barack Obama. He was also featured in a lengthy profile in The New York Times sports section where he revealed that Ireland is the only country he travels to. An early supporter of Obama, Rooney fueled the ambassadorial fire further last week with this interview with a local Pittsburgh TV station as he prepares to lead his team to the Super Bowl clash with the Arizona Cardinals this Sunday. The reporter, Jon Delano, asked him if he expected anything in return for his early and critical support of Obama. "A lot of people are talking that I should be the ambassador of Ireland. I should be the ambassador of the Vatican," he said. "I said, 'Hey, I did not do this with the idea of getting anything.' I'm not looking for anything." Delano: "Would you like to be ambassador to Ireland?" Rooney: "It would be interesting. It would be interesting." Delano: "You have all the right credentials." Rooney: "I have the credentials, there's no doubt about that." The Times portrait was an endearing one of a man, who, despite great wealth, still lives in the house his parents bought in 1939 in a very modest neighborhood. Rooney liked the house so much that he went back and bought it, even though the neighborhood had changed dramatically and is located on the blighted north side of Pittsburgh. The Times described his house as red brick, two stories with a small front porch - "a third of the size of your average suburban McMansions." Rooney walks to every Steelers home game, the newspaper noted, on a broken sidewalk, past an abandoned gas station and underneath the overpass for Route 65. After that the U.S. ambassadorial mansion in Phoenix Park in Dublin would make an interesting contrast!
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