Thu Apr 07 11:26am EDT
The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback spoke for the first time this week about his upcoming nuptials. In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Roethlisberger confirmed that he's engaged to 26-year-old Ashley Harlan, whom he met during training camp in 2005.
"We were kind of on and off for five years -- almost six years now -- so I've known her for a while," Roethlisberger told the newspaper. "It's not like a random new person. We dated awhile ago; we have been friends ever since."
Roethlisberger and Harlan became engaged around Christmas, but the quarterback refused to talk about the subject during the Steelers' run to the Super Bowl. The 26-year-old works as a physician's assistant in the cardiac surgery department of a Pittsburgh hospital. She attended St. Francis College, where she played softball.
The two are scheduled to be married on July 23, one week before the scheduled start of training camp.
"I think a small part of her is hoping we hold out for a week so we can honeymoon," he said. "I told her I was laughing with coach [Mike] Tomlin; he said 'You guys might have to have the honeymoon suite at Saint Vincent.'" (Isn't he not supposed to be talking to coaches?)
Another revelation in the lengthy interview was that Roethlisberger won't live with Harlan until the wedding because of their religious beliefs. She still lives at home with her parents in nearby Newcastle.
The quarterback insists his engagement isn't part of an effort to rehabilitate his image and there's no reason not to take him at his word. But when he says stuff about cohabitation and religious beliefs, it's fair to say that he's not shying away from using his upcoming marriage to try and restore his good name. Why bother mentioning that if it's not to make yourself look pious and to try and draw attention away from past brushes with immoral behavior?
"People will always have opinions of everybody and me, and that's fine, they're entitled," Roethlisberger told the newspaper. "People can say that it is whatever, but people who know and can see and are around us and know me, know that it's something special when you find that person, and I'm extremely lucky," he said.
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