FORT WORTH TX - JANUARY 31: Wide receiver Hines Ward #86 of the Pittsburgh Steelers talks with the media at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel on January 31 2011 in Fort Worth Texas. The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV on February 6 2011 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
When I first heard the news that Hines Ward would be a contestant on the upcoming season of Dancing With The Stars, I thought to myself 'cool I guess.' But I didn't think much of it. Then I remembered how much I love Hines and thought I might actually pay attention and see how he does when the competition gets going. Yesterday, I transcribed an interview with Ward talking about his training regiment for the show, how much work he's already putting in, the new found respect he has for women who wear uncomfortable shoes, and last but certainly not least, how he has every intention of winning the dang competition. A partial transcription of Ward's spot on WCNN in Atlanta follows.
When I heard him talking about 'being in it to win it', I was reminded of why Ward is still out there balling all over guys 10 years younger than him -- he's up there in that truly elite class of competitors. The Michael Jordans, Joe Montana's, Jerry Rice's of the world. Hines isn't as gifted, but he's definitely as scrappy and cut-throat competitive as anyone, and that's why I may just watch the show for the first time ever.
Here's the questions Ward was pestered about regarding his upcoming cameo on DWTS:
On how much of a distraction does he think being on Dancing with the Stars will be and how long will the commitment last:
"I don’t think it will be too distracting. The filming, it goes all the way through like mid-May, June 1st. So it really won’t be that much. It will be like 10 or 12 weeks or episodes. And for me, I get to start off early with my training camp."
Just how good of a dancer is he?
"Oh, I like to cut up the rug at the club. But I’ve never ballroom danced before. That’s a whole other level itself. The good thing about is nobody’s ever ballroom danced before."
On how he got on the show — was he contacted or did his associates approach the show:
"Yeah my marketing team came to them and they threw my name in the panel. And with a lot of hard work and negotiation and stuff like that, they thought I’d be a pretty good fit for the show. So when they came to me and asked me, I really didn’t know because when you see it on television you say oh I can do that. But I’ve started, I’m on my third day of practice and I don’t know what I’ve signed up for. You’re hitting the uncertainty or the unknown areas. But all in all, It’s going well. I’ve got a great partner, she’s very encouraging. We’re almost halfway through our whole routine so things are looking good."
After hearing about how much practice he’s been doing (up to five hours some days), Ward was asked if he is married?
But would he agree that it might be awkward to spend that much time around a beautiful woman if he were married?
"No, it’s not like that. Kim [Johnson, his dancing partner] is cool. You know, at first, it was just a respect trying to feel each other out. It’s like a cool relationship because she’s from a different country. Last night she said I had to throw my hand back, and I was like oh kind of like you’re going to pimp slap someone. She didn’t know what that was. She was like pimp, what’s a pimp? So it’s just a good relationship. I’m going to be with her for a long time, hopefully all the way until the championship. So I would never cross the line as far as jeopardizing our relationship. I’m in it to win it. I want to win that trophy."
Whether there’s a first dance or first few dances that he’s preparing for right now:
"I can’t reveal the first dance, but it’s definitely something that I’ve never come across before. But I’m picking it up pretty fast. You know, it’s easy because we’re looking at ourselves in the mirror so it’s like a whole day using that mirror to try to get synchronized to make sure we’re on the same page and same beat so it looks good on television."
Whether it is as good a workout as some say it is:
"It is. It definitely is. Just going through the whole workout, it’s definitely the shoes. I get a better understanding and new found respect for all the ladies who wear high-heeled shoes. It’s amazing what they go through. So almost every night I’m soaking my feet for precautionary reasons, because I’m starting to feel the soreness on the balls. So I understand what all the females go through when they go out and purchase that new pair of shoes."
I suppose we'll see what Ward can do soon enough, but for now, this is about all we've got to go off -- Ward mimicking Chad Johnson's River Walk Dance after catching yet another TD against the Bengals several years ago.