Ward spent the NFL lockout appearing on Season 12 of "DWTS." Despite an injury to his partner Kym Johnson (who was previously paired with Warren Sapp and Mark Cuban) the Steelers star beat Kirstie Alley and Chelsea Kane to take home the coveted mirror ball trophy, joining the other athletes who've emerged victorious on the dance floor and ending a three-year drought for dancing athletes.
Latest in a long line
Athletes have been a staple of 'Dancing with the Stars' since Evander Holyfield took to the floor in Season 1 in 2005. On May 22, 2012, Green Bay Packers receiver Donald Driver added his name to the storied list of the show's champions, teaming with Peta Murgatroyd to take down Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins and Cuban actor William Levy in the Season 14 finale. Check out some of the show's most memorable turns by sports figures.
Keyshawn Johnson, former NFL receiver, will appear on Season 17. He will dance with Sharna Burgess.
Aly Raisman, gold medal gymnast
Raisman, captain of the gold medal-winning U.S. women's gymnastics team in 2012 in London was paired with Mark Ballas for Season 16. She was eliminated eighth.
Jacoby Jones, NFL wide receiver
Fresh off his Super Bowl XLVII win, Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones was paired with Karina Smirnoff in Season 16. He finished third. Country singer Kellie Pickler won.
Victor Ortiz, former WBC Welterweight Champion
Professional boxer Victor Ortiz was paired with new pro Lindsay Arnold for Season 16. He was eliminated fourth.
Dorothy Hamill, Olympic figure skating champion
Legendary figure skater Dorothy Hamill is paired with Tristan MacManus for Season 16. She left the competition after one week on her doctor's advice. She was suffering from a cyst on her spine.
Martina Navratilova, tennis grand slam champion
Tennis legend Martina Navratilova danced with Tony Dovolani on Season 14 of "Dancing With the Stars." At 55, she was one of the oldest celebs on the dance floor. She was the first star eliminated, meaning she did not manage to outperform another tennis legend, Monica Seles, who appeared on Season 6.
Hope Solo, US soccer team goalie
US soccer team goalie Hope Solo is a contestant on Season 13 of "DWTS." She captured the hearts of many Americans with her play in the 2011 Women's World Cup, but proved to be prickly and unlikeable on the dance floor. Solo didn't exactly have the footwork you'd expect from a soccer player, but she did manage to finish fourth with partner, and resident hunk, Maksim Chmerkovskiy. During and after the 2012 London Olympic Games — where she and her team won another gold medal — she managed to alienate even more people with her outspoken ways. In her memoir, she claims Chmerkovskiy often "manhandled" her and once slapped her across the face during "DWTS" rehearsals.
Metta World Peace (nee Ron Artest), NBA forward
The Lakers star had denied his participation on Season 13 of "Dancing," but he was part of the cast. What better way to spend the NBA lockout? At least it was a way to stay in shape -- though he may not have been as committed as the show's producers hoped. He told the Los Angeles Times recently: "I'd want to go, but I'd want to lose in the first round. I don't want to put my hips in a situation where I'm looking like Rick Fox." Artest, er Peace, got his wish. He was the first contestant to be booted from the ballroom, along with partner Peta Murgatroyd, who was new to the cast.
Romeo Miller, former college hoops player
Miller (right), a rap artist formerly known as Lil' Romeo, competed on "DWTS" Season 12. He's got some game, as he showed in teaming with Justin Bieber in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game. A former scholarship player at USC, Romeo was supposed to appear on Season 2, but a basketball injury forced his dad, rapper Master P, to step in for him — leading to one of the worst performances in the show's history. Romeo redeemed the family name — he and partner Chelsie Hightower finished fifth.
Chris Jericho, former WWE wrestler
Jericho made it four sports figures on Season 12 of "DWTS." As a former pro wrestler, Jericho knows all about choreographed routines and playing to the cameras. He was partnered with Cheryl Burke, who guided Emmitt Smith and Drew Lachey to victory and also danced with Maurice Greene, Chad Ochocinco and Rick Fox. After a few weeks of ups and downs, Jericho was the fourth contestant eliminated on his season.
Sugar Ray Leonard, Hall of Fame boxer
Leonard was on Season 12 of "Dancing With The Stars," and at 54, he still possessed the footwork and looked lean and mean enough to leave his challengers saying "No mas." He was paired with Anna Trebunskaya, who previously danced with Jerry Rice, Kurt Warner, Chuck Liddell and Evan Lysacek. Rice and Lysacek both finished second. Sugar Ray couldn't finish better than previous boxing contestants Evander Holyfield, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Laila Ali. He was the third dancer eliminated in Season 12.
Evander Holyfield, world champion boxer
Holyfield was the only athlete in Season 1 of "Dancing With the Stars." Unfortunately, he and partner Edyta Sliwinska were knocked out in the second round. Actress Kelly Monaco went on to win.
Jerry Rice, NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver
Those who believe a great receiver makes balletic moves had to be pleased by Rice's effort in "Dancing With the Stars'" second season. The former 49ers great (with partner Anna Trebunskaya) finished second to singer Drew Lachey.
Stacy Keibler, former WWE Diva
Keibler's long legs served her well on the dance floor. She and partner Tony Dovolani were the third-place finishers in Season 2 of "DWTS"; they were unable to pin down runner-up Jerry Rice and champion Drew Lachey.
Kenny Mayne, ESPN personality
Mayne was awkward to say the least, and a little bit painful to watch, frankly. He and partner Andrea Hale were the first couple eliminated in Season 2 of "DWTS," which saw Stacy Keibler and Jerry Rice admirably represent the sports contingent. The folks at ABC kept Mayne on to do occasional recaps of the dancing competition.
Laila Ali, world champion boxer
She wasn't the greatest, but she was pretty good. Ali and partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy finished third in Season 4 of "DWTS," behind winner Apolo Anton Ohno. Her legendary father Muhammad Ali was there to see it.
Clyde Drexler, Hall of Fame NBA guard
Clyde "The Glide" Drexler's height worked against him in the dancing competition, as he didn't exactly glide across the dance floor. He and partner Elena Grinenko finished eighth in Season 4 of "DWTS."
Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks owner
The outspoken billionaire entrepreneur wasn't bad, considering that he had previously undergone hip replacement surgery. He and partner Kym Johnson finished eighth in Season 5 of "DWTS" and he lost 34 pounds during his eight weeks on the show. He couldn't hold a candle to that season's eventual champ, Helio Castroneves, but he did do better than boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Floyd Mayweather Jr., world champion boxer
Mayweather showed a lot of improvement during his time on the show, but the paso doble put him on the ropes. He and partner Karina Smirnoff finished ninth in Season 5 of "DWTS." Good thing, because he had a bout to train for.
Jason Taylor, NFL defensive end
Not only did Taylor not win Season 6 of "DWTS," but he also lost big-time with Dolphins management by going on the show instead of training with the team. Which is why he ended up traded to the Redskins in '08. He was partnered with Edyta Sliwinska, who always joins the tallest contestant.
Monica Seles, Grand Slam tennis champion
Seles always had fancy footwork on the tennis court but couldn't transfer it to the dance floor. Despite the best efforts of her professional partner, Jonathan Roberts, Seles was the second contestant eliminated in Season 6 of "DWTS."
Warren Sapp, NFL defensive tackle
Sapp, retired but still carrying the bulk of a defensive lineman, showed himself to be surprisingly graceful. He (with partner Kym Johnson) was runner-up to actress Brooke Burke in Season 7 of "DWTS."
Maurice Greene, Olympic gold-medal sprinter
Greene and partner Cheryl Burke finished fifth in the race for the "DWTS" Season 7 mirror ball trophy.
Misty May-Treanor, Olympic gold-medal beach volleyball player
Unfortunately, three-time gold medalist May-Treanor ruptured her Achilles tendon while practicing with partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy before Season 7 of "DWTS" even began and she was spiked from the competition.
Ty Murray, Rodeo champion
Murray and singer Jewel were going to be "Dancing With the Stars'" first married couple on the show, but she sustained an injury prior to Season 8 and had to withdraw. Murray and partner Chelsie Hightower went on to a fourth-place finish. Hey, dancing has to be easier than bullriding, right?
Lawrence Taylor, NFL Hall of Fame linebacker
Taylor and partner Edyta Sliwinska finished seventh in Season 8 of "DWTS." However, his subsequent run-ins with the law undermined his attempt to rehabilitate his image.
Michael Irvin, retired NFL wide receiver
Irvin didn't finish near the top in Season 9 of "DWTS," but he had one distinction: He and partner Anna Demidova were voted off the show the same week as Iron Chef host Mark Dacascos. Donny Osmond went on to win the mirror ball trophy.
Louie Vito, world champion and Olympic snowboarder
At least he got the balance part down. Vito was partnered with Chelsie Hightower in Season 9 of "DWTS." They finished in eighth place, just behind Michael Irvin. Donny Osmond was the winner.
Natalie Coughlin, Olympic gold-medal swimmer
Coughlin didn't medal for her Season 9 "DWTS" effort. She paddled home in 10th place. She was partnered with Alec Mazo, who won Season 1. Donny Osmond was the eventual winner.
Chuck Liddell, MMA fighter
You want to be the one who had to tell Liddell he was voted off? He lasted only until Week 4 in Season 9 of "DWTS." His partner, Anna Trebunskaya, said Liddell scared people because he didn't smile when he danced.
Evan Lysacek, Olympic gold-medal figure skater
Lysacek, coming off his gold medal-winning performance at the 2010 Vancouver Games, showed his moves were just as good off the ice. He was runner-up to Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger in Season 10 of "DWTS." He danced with Jerry Rice's former partner, Anna Trebunskaya.
Erin Andrews, sideline reporter
Fresh off her embarrassing peeping tom case, Andrews apparently wasn't worried about being overexposed. She showed some moves — and showed some skin — as she made it to the top three in Season 10 of "DWTS." Of course, her rumored romance with partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy might have had something to do with that.
Chad Ochocinco, NFL wide receiver
The Cincinnati Bengals star most definitely wasn't Ocho Stinko in Season 10 of "DWTS." Behind all those touchdown celebrations there really was an entertainer trying to break out. His partner Cheryl Burke danced Emmitt Smith to victory in Season 3. He had what it takes to tango and made it through the first seven cuts, but alas, Chad was — what else? — ocho. He was born Chad Johnson, before adopting the one-word moniker Ochocinco. He later changed his name again to Chad Ochocinco.
Rick Fox, retired NBA star
Three-time NBA champion Fox, who's been acting since retiring from the NBA, competed on Season 11 of "Dancing With the Stars." Fox finished sixth with his partner Cheryl Burke, whose previous partners included sprinter Maurice Greene, NFL player Chad Ochocinco and NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith. The latter was crowned champion of his season and Burke also won with singer Drew Lachey. "Dirty Dancing" star Jennifer Grey won Season 11's mirror ball trophy.
Kurt Warner, retired NFL quarterback
Kurt Warner (pictured with his wife) finished in fifth place in Season 11 of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," outlasting fellow athlete Rick Fox by just one week. Both jocks shockingly went home before dance-challenged Bristol Palin. The Super Bowl XXXIV MVP was the first quarterback to try his moves on the dance floor. His professional partner was Anna Trebunskaya, whose previous partners from the sports world were MMA fighter Chuck Liddell, retired NFL star Jerry Rice and Olympic figure skater Evan Lysacek; the latter two finished second in their respective seasons.
Emmitt Smith, NFL Hall of Fame running back
Maybe Smith wasn't the greatest TV analyst, but he could get his groove on. In "Dancing With the Stars'" Season 3, in 2006, he and partner Cheryl Burke defeated actor Mario Lopez and his partner Karina Smirnoff in the finale, starting a four-season run of champions from the world of sports. He made it to the semifinals of the Season 15 all-star edition of "Dancing with the Stars" in 2012.
Apolo Anton Ohno, Olympic gold medal short-track speedskater
Even before he became America's most decorated Winter Olympian, Ohno won hearts with his flashy feet off the short track. Dancing with partner Julianne Hough, Ohno captured the trophy on "DWTS" Season 4, on his 25th birthday. They defeated 'N Sync's Joey Fatone. He made it to the semifinals of the Season 15 all-star edition of "Dancing with the Stars" in 2012.
Helio Castroneves, IndyCar racer
"Dancing with the Stars" champions from the sports world aren't isolated to the gridiron. Some come from the starting grid, as well. When Castroneves won "Dancing With the Stars" in Season 5 — defeating Spice Girl Mel B — he had perhaps one of the best quotes. "It will look so good between my two Indy 500 trophies," he said of the tacky mirror-ball trophy. It was also the second straight win for his professional partner Julianne Hough and the third of four straight championships for sports figures. Castroneves participated in the all-star Season 15 edition of the show. He and partner Chelsie Hightower were eliminated in week 3.
Yamaguchi had come in first plenty of times for the way she danced across the ice, but minus skates, she won "DWTS" Season 6 with partner Mark Ballas, beating out another athlete, Jason Taylor, who finished second.
Shawn Johnson, Olympic gold-medal gymnast
Johnson won "DTWS" Season 8, defeating Gilles Marini and Melissa Rycroft in the May finale, bringing glory back to the sports world after Season 7's trophy went to actress Brooke Burke. Johnson was partnered with Mark Ballas. She finished second in the all-star, Season 15 edition of the show.