- Associated Press - Sunday, July 24, 2011

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Ben Roethlisberger got the privacy he wanted for his wedding Saturday, with police providing tight security around the church in affluent Ohio Township where he and Ashley Harlan were married and tinted windows on expensive cars leaving much of the guest list a mystery.

Still, the hope of a glimpse at the Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback, his new bride and the dozens of team luminaries who turned out for the ceremony was enough for Dolly Metz to sit in a car _ complete with Steelers covers on the headrests _ in a nearby parking lot with the windows down in 90 degree heat.

“This is the best part of my day,” said Metz, who lives in McKees Rocks. “I know he was supposed to send a limo for me too, but it broke down.”

Metz and friends Eugene and Carol Lovely were among a small group of Steeler fans who tried to show their support for Roethlisberger.

The organization was well-represented too despite the NFL’s ongoing labor dispute.

Owner Dan Rooney waved to security officials on his way inside and guests included linebacker James Harrison and former Pittsburgh running back Jerome Bettis.

Harrison entered in a rare Mercedes sedan, according to police, his presence perhaps proof there was no fallout from his criticism of the quarterback in a “Men’s Journal” article released last week.

The Pro Bowler placed some of the blame on the team’s Super Bowl loss to the Green Bay Packers on Roethlisberger in the story, then later apologized saying his comments were taken out of context.

Whenever Roethlisberger and his teammates return to the field, he’ll be a married man, an idea that seemed to resonate with the fans who have watched his legal troubles the last few years with growing exasperation.

The Super Bowl winning quarterback has twice found himself accused of sexual misconduct. Though neither incident resulted in charges, he was suspended for four games by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last year.

He returned to lead Pittsburgh back to the Super Bowl, and surprised some by revealing his engagement to the 26-year-old Harlan, a physician’s assistant from New Castle, Pa., this spring.

Roethlisberger has acknowledged the need to restore his public image, and fan Linda Moule admitted she was a little skeptical when she heard the news because he’s kept news of the relationship quiet for so long.

“It certainly is a step in the right direction,” Moule said. “Like anyone, it’s a coin toss on if it will last. This is certainly not Prince William and Princess Catherine.”

That didn’t mean Moule and her extended family didn’t want to send Roethlisberger a message that they were behind him.

Sitting on her parents’ lawn, Moule, her two sisters and their children waved as wedding guests passed by, with some honking their horns at the homemade sign the family put together that read “Best Wishes Ben & Ashley.”

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