Ambassador Dan Rooney likely to return to Pittsburgh Steelers this summer

Dan Rooney, US Ambassador

Dan Rooney made a return to the NFL owners meeting on Monday morning after missing the last two annual meetings due to his commitments as U.S. ambassador to Ireland.

Despite strong indications that Rooney will step down from his role this summer to help with the Obama re-election effort  he remained tight lipped on the issue during the meeting in West Palm Beach.

"It's great to be here," the 79-year-old said, "but my job is in Ireland, I take it very seriously."

The Pittsburgh Steelers will embark on their 80th season this year and Rooney is hotly tipped to return to his role as chairman.

"I'm not back," Rooney insisted.

"Don't say that. I'm not back. I don't even have a date that I'm going to be back."

Despite his denial it looks like Rooney will trade his ambassador's job for a chairman's in July.

PittsburghLive reports that Rooney will travel back to Pittsburgh Thursday before returning to Ireland later in the week.

It is unlikely he would be replaced if he leaves in July until after the election

Speaking about the release of veterans such as James Farrior, Hines Ward and Aaron Smith, he said it was an unfortunate part of the business side of the NFL. H eadded they will always have a place in the organization.

"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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