Tuesday February 28th, 2012

Packers wide receiver Donald Driver will compete on the 14th season of "Dancing With the Stars," making him the 10th current or former NFL player to take part in the popular reality show. Driver has some high standards to live up to -- Hines Ward won the competition in the show's 12th season, while Emmitt Smith captured the crown in Season 3.

Smith's win, by the way, led to one of the greatest cameos in "How I Met Your Mother" history ...

The previous NFL participants on the show: Jerry Rice (second place, Season 2); Smith; Jason Taylor (second place, Season 6); Warren Sapp (second place, Season 7); Lawrence Taylor (seventh place, Season 8); Michael Irvin (seventh place, Season 9); Chad Ochocinco (fourth place, Season 10); Kurt Warner (fifth place, Season 11); and Ward.

Evander Holyfield was actually the first professional athlete to take part in the show, back in Season 1. Rice followed him in Season 2 -- as did ESPN's Kenny Mayne, who was the first contestant voted off and was later given the honor of "Best, Worst Dancer" during the show's 200th episode retrospective.

So there's that. Suffice it to say, Mayne's "I am amused by the simplicity of this game" catch phrase does not apply.

"Dancing With the Stars" has also brought to us such great television moments as Sapp dancing the hustle to "Funky Town."

If there is a benefit to searching for "Warren Sapp dancing" videos on YouTube -- and, trust me, the risks outweigh the rewards -- it's that, eventually, you'll come across the following: A music video devoted to Sapp's dance after he scored his first NFL touchdown:

All kidding aside (for a second), these dudes take it seriously when they get called up to the show. Hines Ward's win was such a big deal, in fact, that he and his teammate, Kym Johnson, held a celebratory rally in downtown Pittsburgh to show off their trophy.


Said the reporter on the scene: "Hundreds gathered to catch a glimpse ..."

Hundreds! The Pittsburgh mayor even declared June 30 "Hines Ward and Kym Johnson Day" in the city.

If I know Packers fans, they'd turn out too if Driver brought home the coveted, uh, "Mirror Ball Trophy" after Season 14. It might not ease the sting of losing in this year's playoffs, but ... no, never mind, there's no qualifier. It won't ease the sting of losing in this year's playoffs.

But, hey, dancing!

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