Social media activity sparks rumor that Antonio Brown will join 'Dancing With the Stars'
February 24, 2016 12:29 PM
The Steelers' Antonio Brown jogs onto the field during practice on the South Side.
Don Wright/Associated Press
Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown leaps into the goal post after scoring a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 6.
By Maria Sciullo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Update, posted March 4, 2016: NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Steelers receiver Antonio Brown will compete on the upcoming season of “Dancing With The Stars.” Rapoport reported that Brown will join Denver Broncos linebacker and Super Bowl MVP Von Miller on the show.
Is Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown headed to “Dancing With the Stars”?
The official announcement for season 21 of the ABC reality glitterfest won’t be revealed until March 8 on “Good Morning America,” but a few simple tweets on social media set off a storm of speculation Feb. 25.
Various websites devoted to the show picked up on some fans’ Twitter speculation that perhaps the agile Pro Bowl selection is getting ready to dance beyond the end zone.
If so, he will follow in the successful footsteps of Hines Ward, who won the Mirror Ball Trophy during season 12 in 2011. Shortly before he and partner Kym Johnson took the title, Mr. Ward noted that “DWTS” fame is a solid post-career move.
“You can’t buy this kind of exposure. ... I’m getting into a new fan base,” he said.
Pittsburgh’s Corinne Mahaney said she put two and two together when reading tweets the other day. She noticed that Mr. Brown, known for his “Antonio Brown flip” and touchdown wiggle dance on YouTube, had started following the show.
“Oh, it’s not much of a theory,” Ms. Mahaney replied via Twitter. She pointed out he was now following both the official “DWTS” account as well as that of Sharna Burgess, an Australian dancer on the show. “Just seemed like a random, out of nowhere follow for him.”
This set off a Wednesday-morning buzz on local radio, as well as national sites such as BuddyTV.com and PureDWTS.com.
John Lynn founded the PureDWTS.com site in season 5 of the show. He said a combination of factors suggests the odds of Mr. Brown’s participation are at “80 percent.”
Pro athletes and TV celebs meet all the time at events and end up following each other on social media. “Saying, ‘I’m going to follow “Dancing With the Stars” ’ is not the kind of thing that casually happens after a party or whatever. The two in combination seems to indicate it’s pretty likely he’s going to be on the show,” Mr. Lynn said.
“Of course, negotiations can always break down, and that’s where you have to be careful.”
Mr. Brown’s agent has not yet responded to the speculation.
Jacoby Jones placed third on “DWTS” as a Baltimore Ravens wide receiver awhile back; he recently was released by the Steelers. Football players generally do better than other athletes for a number of reasons, Mr. Lynn said. If they are likable (“charisma and personality, and Antonio Brown has that in spades,” he added), dance well (check out the AB moves on YouTube) and bring a solid fan base (hello, Steeler Nation), they are well on their way.
Generally, the celebrities meet their partners in the weeks leading up to the cast announcement. The first “Dancing With the Stars” episode is March 21. There always are leaks — “That’s our job,” Mr. Lynn said — so it’s possible to know who’s in the cast before then.
Mr. Brown suffered a concussion after being hit by Cincinnati’s Vontaze Burfict in a postseason game. Although the world of reality television can be brutal, if he should end up wearing sequins this spring, “Dancing With the Stars” would no doubt be a nice break.
Maria Sciullo: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1478.
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