Ben Roethlisberger “was determined to not only change his image but also change his ways since he was publicly humiliated” writes the Post-Gazzette’s Ed Bouchette, alluding to the 2nd time the Steelers QB was accused of rape in the space of a year. And thus, Big Ben is engaged to Ashley Harlan, 27, a gal who Bouchette reports, “lives at home with her parents”, an arrangement Roethlisberger is a-ok with, because of “the couple’s religious faith”. Furthermore, he’s surprised anyone gives a hoot.

“It’s just an engagement,” Roethlisberger said. “I never expected it to be on the front pages of all the papers and websites. There was speculation what our invitations would look like and who is coming! It almost seemed surreal, it was like a movie or something, it was weird.”

Some of those stories detailed a “wedding” gift registry at various department stores, which in reality was a registry for Ms. Harlan’s shower. Because of the publicity, she has received packages from unknown people who have bought gifts for a shower they will not attend.

“We’ve gotten a lot of gifts from people we don’t know,” Mr. Roethlisberger said.

Some of the reaction to his engagement coming so soon after his personal problems last year was met with skepticism.

“People will always have opinions of everybody and me, and that’s fine, they’re entitled,” Mr. Roethlisberger said. “But people who know her, know me, know us … it’s funny because I’ve even had lot of fan mail through my website and stuff; people will write in and say — even before any word came out about an engagement — ‘Ben, you look like something’s different with you. You look like a happier person, you play happy, you smile more on the field.’ Part of that is because I’m a happier person, I’m in a happy place, but a lot of that has to do with her, too.