You might wonder, for example, what commonalities were in play between Rooney, elderly decorated Eastern establishment corporate titan of immense influence, and Ike Taylor, young black son of a single mom from Gretna, La., but Ike was so comfortable with Rooney’s version of NFL royalty that he once told the big boss he was wearing his pants too high.
Once, Taylor came into Rooney’s office to announce that he was tired.
“Why, what are ya tired from?” Rooney said.
Ike gave his explanation. Rooney considered it. Then he said, “Well, why don’t you lie down on the couch there?”
Ike laid down. Zonked out immediately. After a while, Rooney had an appointment. He walked out, closed the door to his office, and told the secretaries not to bother Ike.
You don’t pull that off with your boss unless you have an uncommonly close bond — the sort of bond that manifests itself in special handshakes, and nicknames, and honors like the one Taylor received on Tuesday.
“You see a guy who has all this money, but he still drives a Buick … You see a guy with all this money, but he’s still got, like, four or five suits,” Taylor said on NFL Network last week. “You see a guy who’s just humble, a guy who doesn’t worry about the materialistic things, who just cares about people in general.”
“He put the players first. It was genuine. It was authentic.”
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