It's official: Steelers receiver Antonio Brown to appear on 'Dancing With the Stars'
March 7, 2016 10:47 AM
The Steelers' Antonio Brown takes a selfie with Steeler fans at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati in January.
Antonio Brown celebrates after scoring in a game against the Bengals at Heinz Field.
By Maria Sciullo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
No “Monday Night Football,” yet, but Antonio Brown will be a Monday Night dancer.
Steelers receiver Antonio Brown was officially announced as a cast member for Season 22 of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” this morning. The news broke on ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” which, like ABC, is owned by Disney. The season premiere of “DWTS,” which airs on Monday nights, is March 21.
“It’s something new to me, but I’m embracing it. They’ve got some nice outfits ready for me.” Mr. Brown told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I’m ready to show America Antonio Brown.”
America is already impressed, having watched the videos that circulate each Monday during football season. There are little, wiggly dances and his repertoire includes a full-on front flip — not easy after sprinting more than half a football field. The latter occurred last fall against the Cleveland Browns.
“It was in the moment. Some things you can’t plan,” he said. “That’s how excited I was.”
Having danced in end zones and clubs, Mr. Brown said the formality of the “DWTS” routines will be challenging.
“The pressure is definitely on me to win,” said Mr. Brown, adding he’s discussed the show with former “DWTS” champ Hines Ward. “Hines already set the standard with Steeler nation.”
Mr. Brown, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Dapper Dan Man of the Year, is paired with professional dancer Sharna Burgess. He’s not shy about bringing the sparkle, wearing a number of shiny “killer bee” pins on the lapels of a dark green velvet jacket for his “SportsCenter” appearance.
“DWTS” expert Mr. Ward, the former Super Bowl MVP, said he expects Mr. Brown to do well because of the latter’s fancy footwork on the playing field.
At a fundraiser tasting at his Vines Wine Bar in Seven Fields last week, Mr. Ward said the biggest challenge will be “everything. It’s being out of your element.”
Football players, Mr. Brown said, “We love the big stage. ...We respond well to challenge. We embrace it.”
The reality of reality television is, it’s almost impossible to keep a lid on which Survivors are good bets to reach the final Tribal Council, or what Disney starlet will be next up for “DWTS” duty. Entire websites are devoted to sussing out secrets, and in fact, the Post-Gazette reported that Mr. Brown had a good chance of being on the show two weeks ago.
Mr. Brown joins a long line of pro football players, who often do well on the show. Mr. Ward tangoed his way to the Mirror Ball trophy in 2011 with partner Kym Johnson, riding a tide of good will and massive fan voting from Steelers Nation.
Another NFL winner was Emmitt Smith in 2006. Pittsburgh native Jason Taylor was runner-up in 2008. Onetime Steeler Jacoby Jones was a finalist, placing third in 2013.
This time around, however, Mr. Brown’s pro fan base might be challenged by that of the Denver Broncos. Although a formal announcement is not expected on the rest of the “DWTS” cast until Tuesday morning on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport recently reported that 2016 Super Bowl MVP Von Miller also is in the mix.
ABC has been doling out cast “surprises” on “GMA.” Last Wednesday, actress Jodie Sweetin of Netflix’s “Full House” revival (“Fuller House”) was the first official celeb named. She’s paired with Keo Motsepe. Two days later, “GMA” meteorologist Ginger Zee — on maternity leave after having her first child in December — became another official pick with partner Val Chmerkovskiy.
Mr. Taylor said Mr. Brown is in for some nerve-wracking adjustment. The first time out, “I was sweating and shaking... I was like a 7-year-old girl at her first dance recital. He’s going to be pushing his comfort level.”
Mr. Ward, the former champ, has some advice as well.
“Have fun,” Mr. Ward said. “I didn’t go into it expecting to win, but you just have to have fun.”
Maria Sciullo: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1478 or @MariaSciulloPG.
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