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Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Hines Ward continues winning ways

By James Walker
ESPN.com

It's not quite another Lombardi trophy. But Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward can add another piece of championship hardware -- the mirror ball trophy -- to his distinguished collection.

Hines Ward
Hines Ward is this season's "Dancing with the Stars" champion.
Ward, a two-time Super Bowl champion, became just the second NFL player to win the popular "Dancing with the Stars" competition on ABC, joining former running back Emmitt Smith. Ward and partner Kym Johnson had great chemistry from the start and became the prohibitive favorites, and they finished the job Tuesday night with another great performance to beat Kristie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who came in second.

Ward and Johnson, wearing the Steelers' black-and-gold colors, performed the Samba and didn't miss a step. He showed fluid moves and sported his trademark smile the entire performance, which scored a perfect 30 points from the judges Tuesday. The final tally was the combined result of the judges and the fans.

To be honest, I didn't expect Ward to win "Dancing With The Stars." Ward is not the fastest or the quickest receiver in the NFL, but his abilities translated very well on the dance floor. Ward admits he never danced before, but he is an intense competitor and you can tell he put his all into winning this competition.

I also had questions about Ward's taking part in this lengthy competition spanning more than two months in the spring, but it turned out to be the right call. Due to the lengthy NFL lockout, Ward didn't miss any offseason activities and was able to do something to stay in shape and further his career after football. Perhaps dancing this offseason will also help Ward become more nimble in the twilight of his career.

Ward may have come up one drive short in Super Bowl XLV against the Green Bay Packers this past February. But credit Ward, a consummate winner, for working hard to bring a different kind of title to Pittsburgh this year.