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I don't watch "Dancing With the Stars". In fact, I'm not that big on reality shows overmuch. When it was announced that former NY Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor would be the latest NFL player to compete on the ABC series, I wondered if he would, like old rivals Emmitt Smith & Jerry Rice, among others, be there at the end. Last night, the answer was no.

Taylor, the original "LT" to NFL fans, was voted off the dance floor, leaving six contestants left, including Olympic gold medal gymnast Shawn Johnson, who now becomes the prohibitive favorite to win the mirror ball trophy.
Rodeo star Ty Murray is the only other athlete left, but I just don't see him hanging around for the final round.

Taylor was the latest in a string of footballers to give "Dancing" a try in the wake of Smith winning 4 years ago. Rice finished 2nd behind singer Drew Lachey a year later, and Warren Sapp was a runner-up last "season". There've been others from other sports, too, in addition to Murray & Johnson. 2-time Indy 500 champ Helio Castroneves, recently in the news after being acquitted on income tax evasion charges, is a past winner as well. Actress Stacy Keibler, formerly of the WWE, WCW, and an ex-cheerleader for the Baltimore Ravens, parlayed her 3rd place finish behind Lachey & Rice into a deal with Disney, ABC's corporate parent.

A year ago, CBS had signed newly retired wrestler Ric Flair to take part in "Secret Talents of the Stars", in which he'd reveal his gift for salsa dancing. Unfortunately, the network got cold feet after the first week and axed the show before Flair could even appear. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Flair is contacted by the producers of "Dancing" to take part down the line. Funny thing is, there haven't been too many baseball, basketball, soccer, or hockey players, past or present, giving this a whirl. You'd think someone like Michael Jordan would give this a look, just for the sake of a challenge. Hasn't happened yet, but it's not out of the realm of possibility.

Back to Emmitt Smith for a moment. His 2005 win on "Dancing" led to a lame commercial for Just For Men (w/Keith Hernandez & Walt Frazier) that, even after editing, has been played into the ground since its premiere several months back. Aside from his work for ESPN, Smith hasn't been heard from much since.

By recruiting ex-NFLers and the usual collection of actors and musicians, "Dancing With the Stars" settles into a familiar pattern, but it still gets the ratings. Maybe by this time in a few years, that other "LT", LaDainian Tomlinson, will be trading his cleats for dancing shoes..........


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