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” Monday 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.
“The pressure is definitely on me to win,” said Brown, adding he’s discussed the show with former DWTS champ Hines Ward. ”Hines already set the standard with Steeler nation.”
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.
No less an expert on DWTS than Ward, former Steelers Super Bowl MVP, said he expects 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, Ward said the biggest challenge will be “everything. It’s being out of your element.”
Football players, 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 Brown had a good chance of being on the show two weeks ago.
Brown joins a long line of pro football players, who often do well on the show. 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.
Other NFL winners were Emmitt Smith (2006). Pittsburgh native Jason Taylor was runner-up in 2008. One-time Steeler Jacoby Jones was a finalist, placing third in 2013.
This time around, however, 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 — currently on maternity leave after having her first child in December — became another official pick with partner Val Chmerkovskiy.
Taylor said 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.”
Ward, the former champ, has some advice as well.
“Have fun,” Ward said. ”I didn’t go into it expecting to win, but you just have to have fun.”