Saints' owner Tom Benson has expressed sorrow over the death of Dan Rooney, the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Rooney died Thursday at the age of 84. There was no immediate word on the cause of his death.
"In addition to being a close friend, Dan Rooney was one of the true visionaries in our sport and our game is what it is today due to the efforts of men like him," the 89-year-old Benson said in a statement released by the Saints.
"He was a true gentleman with impeccable character and integrity who was thoughtful, gracious, caring and a remarkable person, someone who truly embodied everything we should all aspire to be and an example of how we should all live our lives. We have lost a true treasure that will never be replaced and whose legacy will never be forgotten."
Rooney was admitted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000. He served as general manager of the club from 1975-2003. Rooney's father, Art, purchased the Steelers in 1933 and the family has run the team since that time. Pittsburgh has won six Super Bowl titles under the family's leadership.
Rooney's impact on the NFL was undeniable and he will long be remembered as one of the legendary figures of the sport.
Dan Rooney led the charge of identifying minority head-coaching candidates while heading the league's diversity meeting. The edict that teams with openings must interview at least one minority candidate became known as the "Rooney Rule." When the Steelers needed a coach after the resignation of Bill Cowher following the 2006, they hired Mike Tomlin, the first black coach in franchise history.