Anything possible for Ben's big day

| Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tailgating for a wedding• Why not?

Expect the smell of grilled hamburgers and hot sausage to permeate parking lots shortly after dawn on Saturday near Christ Church at Grove Farm in Ohio Township.

That's where the debauched bachelorhood of Ben Roethlisberger finally meets its end, as the Steelers quarterback weds physician's assistant Ashley Harlan.

Hard to believe Pittsburgh's pigskin prince barely is a year removed from a salacious encounter in a Georgia nightclub that threatened to derail his Steelers career. Now he is the groom in this city's version of a royal wedding.

What can be expected on the big day, other than ubiquitous scalpers with fistfuls of invitations shouting, "Who needs two?" Even if they know they can't get in to the ceremony, expect Steelers fans to show up en masse to discuss the nuptials over bratwurst and beer.

"What do you think Ben and Ashley's first dance is gonna be?"

"I dunno, but I bet it ain't 'Glory of Love' or 'Wonderful Tonight.' Those would work fine if some Bengal or Brown were getting married, but those songs are too girly for a Steeler."

"You know what• They should dance to that old Styx song that gets the crowd riled up at Heinz Field all the time. Their first dance should be 'Renegade.' "

"Great idea!"

The guest list is being kept under wraps about as well as any SEAL Team Six mission, but is believed to include a number of colorful personalities currently or formerly associated with the Steelers. What to expect from them?

Glad you asked.

-- Hines Ward: The "Dancing With The Stars" champion might attempt to deflect attention from his recent DUI arrest by performing several wedding reception staples along with TV partner Kym Johnson. The pair could electrify guests by expertly tackling the Chicken Dance, Bunny Hop and Hokey Pokey.

-- James Harrison: If anyone can be counted on to unsheathe a large knife during the ceremony and use it to carve into a pew insulting innuendo regarding NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, it's the Steelers' Mr. Instability.

-- Rashard Mendenhall: The tactful Twitter junkie lost a lucrative endorsement deal over tweets that made him appear sympathetic to the late terrorist Osama bin Laden. Expect him to miss the ring exchange because he is tweeting how he expects Big Ben to return to his old wild ways within weeks following the honeymoon.

-- Santonio Holmes: Roethlisberger's former receiver, suspended last year for violating the NFL substance abuse policy, could inspire two questions among other wedding guests: Where did he vanish the moment Harlan began walking down the aisle, and why was all that smoke coming from the confessional shortly thereafter?

-- Jeff Reed: Reminiscent of another altercation he once had with an inanimate object, the Steelers former kicker might mistakenly believe the wedding cake insulted him and sucker-punch it.

-- Steely McBeam: The team mascot would be an unanticipated but certainly appropriate choice for best man.

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