Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ben Rothlisberger Gets Married In Very Private, Heavily Guarded Ceremony

A little over a year ago it would have been hard to imagine Ben Rothlisberger wanting to get married to anyone, given the circumstances that led to a scandal surrounding an alleged sexual assault at a nightclub in Georgia.

Here we are, roughly a year later, and the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback is no longer single.  In a very private and heavily guarded ceremony Saturday at the Christ Church of Grove Farm outside Pittsburgh, Rothlisberger married Ashley Harlan.  He's known Harlan, who works as a physician's assistant in a Pittsburgh hospital, since 2005.  The couple have dated sporadically since then before getting serious over the past year.
The wedding was attended by several Steeler teammates, including James Harrison (who recently made news for some disparaging comments about his quarterback).  Team officials were also in attendance after getting special permission from the NFL to attend given the current lockout condition.  Coach Mike Tomlin and Owner Dan Rooney were expected to join in the festivities.

Rothlisberger has been working to turn around his public image since his suspension for four games during last year's NFL season following the sexual assault investigation.  Having established himself as an arrogant and classless professional athlete prior to the suspension, he seemed to see the light during his extended time away from the team.

Whether it was some deep soul searching or simply turning to Ashley, a very devout Christian, Rothlisberger's attitude both on-the-field and off seemed to drastically improve by the time he returned to the team.  He and his (now) wife joined the Christ Church together a year ago and have been faithful churchgoers ever since.

Once he returned to the Steelers after his suspension last year, petulant comments and negative body language were a thing of the past, and a new, more mature, Rothlisberger took the field as starting quarterback.  His teammates definitely responded to this new Ben, and the team had a highly successful season. They made it all the way to the Super Bowl before losing to Green Bay.

Here's hoping that this change in Ben is a permanent one, and that his marriage is long and fruitful.


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