While negotiators for the NFL and its locked-out players will return to the bargaining table Tuesday hoping to hammer out a new labor deal, Hines Ward will be working on his dance steps. Again and again.
The Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver, who now is the front-runner on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" this season, hasn't been keeping up with all the back and forth in the labor situation that could put a stop to the 2011 football season.
"Dancing has really kept my mind off those serious things," said Ward, who has played for the Steelers for 13 years and has two Super Bowl rings. "To be honest, if I were home, I'd probably be on vacation and watching the news on the TV. A lot of guys I know are going out and spending their money traveling. All I'm doing is dancing."
Three contestants -- disc jockey Mike Catherwood, TV host Wendy Williams and boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard -- already have been kicked off the show, and Ward and pro wrestler Chris Jericho are the two remaining athletes of the eight remaining dancers. On Monday, it's American Week as each couple will show off a new dance.
"Right now, I sleep, eat and dance and I'm enjoying it," said Ward, who is teamed with Kym Johnson. "I actually look forward to going to practice and getting better. Unless I turn on the television, I haven't even thought about the labor situation."