Hines Ward was the winner of DWTS’ season 12. The footballer took home the Mirrorball Trophy in 2011. What has he been up to since?
Hines Ward, NFL wide receiver, actor, and social activist, was a crowd-favorite on the reality TV show, Dancing With the Stars. In 2011, he and his professional dance partner, Kym Johnson, took home the Mirrorball trophy and title of Dancing Stars. Where is the season 12 DWTS alumni now?
Although he’s now put away his sneakers, he’s still an active member of the NFL community. Having retired from professional football, the Hall of Fame nominee is now coaching professionally. In 2012, he moved up from the little screen to act in The Dark Knight Rises, and has made appearances in other major productions.
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Looking back at season 12 of DWTS, Ward was a much-loved contestant from start to end. His NFL build and stamina, paired with him being a pure delight on and off stage, made rooting for team Ward a joy. An injury during the season caused panic among the audience, but the team recovered quickly and danced as planned. According to ABC News, Hines was the first active NFL player to win on the show. During the finale, the player was competing against Disney Channel star Chelsea Kane and actress Kirstie Alley. He and Johnson chose the samba as the routine for their final dance, taking the trophy home. After his time on DWTS, Ward thanked his fans for giving him, “the most extraordinary adventure I’ve ever been on in my life.” It seemed he liked being in front of the camera so much that he made cameos on blockbuster projects like The Dark Knight Rises, Rachael vs Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, The Walking Dead, and Dynasty.
He has also continued to compete on the small screen. Ward appeared on a recent episode of Celebrity Family Feud, where he brought the title home for his team. The NFL edition of the show had NFL Legends going up against NFL Pro Bowlers. The show airs every Wednesday on ABC. Ward and his team won $25,000 for the charity of their choice by answering host Steve Harvey’s final question, “Which animal would be shelterless without a shell?” The Legends promised their prize to the Fisher House Foundation, a charity and foundation that builds and provides free lodging homes to military and veteran families to stay while a member of the family is in the hospital.
Ward posted this photo to his Instagram prior to the show airing:
Ward is just as victorious on the field as he is on screen. From 1994 to 1997, he played for the University of Georgia Bulldogs. During the 1998 NFL Draft, he was regarded as one of the top five receivers and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. In 2012, he announced his retirement from the Steelers and professional football. Over his 14 year career playing for Pittsburgh, he earned three Most Valuable Player titles and was a four-time NFL Pro Bowl selection. And this year, it was announced that Hines Ward is one of five Steelers that are potential candidates for the Class of 2021 Pro Football Hall of fame. The finalist will be announced on February 6, the day before Super Bowl 2021. Ward has since moved on to professional coaching, and starting September 2019, he began his coaching career as a full-time offensive assistant for the New York Jets. He has accelerated his career with the media as well, having done stints with NBC Sports and Football Night in America. He is currently working with CNN as a studio analyst.
Being the truly public and personable figure he is, the football legend has been using his platform to ignite social change. As a person of mixed heritage, he established the Hines Ward Helping Hands Foundation in 2006. The foundation is his ode to mixed-race children that suffer discrimination. Through his foundation, Ward advocates for social and political reform. So much so that, in 2010, President Barack Obama appointed him to be a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Ward exemplifies entrepreneurial energy and is an inspiration to those that he has paved the way for. From football to dancing, to coaching, he has succeeded at most of what he puts his mind to. He seems like a busy man, but fans would love it if he graced the DWTS ballroom again.
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