Pittsburgh Steelers star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is no stranger to off-season headlines, and usually for him, they end up being of the negative variety.
From his near-fatal motorcycle accident, to his well-publicized sexual assault allegations in Lake Tahoe, Nv, and Milledgeville, Ga., Big Ben always seemed to be making news for the wrong reasons.
His actions have led to him being suspended from NFL games under the league’s personal conduct policy, the loss of endorsement contracts, and even having protests lodged against him by feminist groups.
But Ben Roethlisberger may finally be growing up.
On July 23, 2011, Roethlisberger married Ashley Harlan, a physician’s assistant from New Castle, Pa., and started to become more of a family man, rather than the brash party animal he had been come to be known as.
Earlier this year, Roethlisberger returned to Miami University to complete his college degree, graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science in Education. Roethlisberger walked with other Miami University graduates at the commencement ceremony, with his immediate family and wife Ashley there watching.
Then came the big announcement.
On June 9th, 2012, Roethlisberger told the world through his official Facebook page that he and Ashley are expecting their first child later this year. Perhaps he should have qualified “later” with “during the NFL season”.
That’s right, Roethlisberger’s child could possibly be born on a Sunday in the middle of the 2012 NFL season. But Big Ben doesn’t even have to think twice about where his priorities would be if that should happen.
“I’m not missing the birth of my child,” Roethlisberger said. “There’s no chance. I know some fans probably don’t want to hear that, but there’s no chance.”
So, as ironic as it might sound, Ben Roethlisberger vowing to possibly miss a Steelers game is yet another sign that the once bad-boy quarterback is growing up.
I say good for you, Ben. It’s too often in the world – and not just in professional sports – that people place concerns about their jobs and careers over their families. The birth of your child, particularly your first, is a once in a lifetime experience and should not be taken for granted.
Pittsburgh Steelers fans may or may not be bothered by Ben’s statement, but I would think that head coach Mike Tomlin is probably elated. It’s always special when you see one of your “children” grow up before your very eyes.