Ravens WR Jacoby Jones joins 'Dancing with the Stars'
Just a few weeks after setting numerous Super Bowl records and earning himself a spot on the cover of Sports Illustrated, Baltimore Ravens wide receiver/kick returner Jacoby Jones officially has his eyes set on a new prize: the Mirror Ball Trophy awarded to the winner of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" competition.
On Tuesday morning, Jones was confirmed as part of the latest "Dancing with the Stars" cast, making him one of four athletes and a dozen celebrities total who will vie for the Mirror Ball Trophy this spring. The 6-foot-2 speedster will team with pro Karina Smirnoff, who has been part of 12 of the show's 15 previous installments and won the trophy with actor and military veteran J.R. Martinez in the fall of 2011.
Although numerous past NFL stars have taken to the ballroom, Jones' appearance marks the third straight spring that an active NFL wideout will put on their dancing shoes; he'll have quite a reputation to live up to in that realm, as both ex-Steeler Hines Ward (spring 2011) and former Packer Donald Driver (spring 2012) walked away as winners.
In all, an NFL star has won the Mirror Ball Trophy three times - with Emmitt Smith's Season 3 victory in 2006 marking the third - and the fraternity also has three second-place finishes courtesy of Jerry Rice, Warren Sapp, and Jason Taylor. Smith even came back to compete for a second time this past fall, placing fourth behind eventual winner Melissa Rycroft during as part of Season 15's "All-Stars" format.
It was just 23 days ago that Jones, who earned both All-Pro honors and an AFC Pro Bowl berth in 2012, capped off that stellar season by recording a Super Bowl-record 290 all-purpose yards, including his second 108-yard kickoff return touchdown of the season, to help the Ravens top the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII. Hopefully, Jones' quick feet and shifty moves will come in handy as he moves from the gridiron to the hardwood, looking to take down a bevy of contenders from all walks of stardom.
His fellow athletes include former WBC Welterweight Champion boxer Victor Ortiz and a pair of gold medal-winning Olympians separated in age by nearly four decades: 18-year-old gymnast Ali Raisman, who won gold on the floor exercise and helped Team USA to the all-around title this past summer in London, and 56-year-old figure skater Dorothy Hamill, who struck gold in the 1976 games in Innsbruck, Austria.
The remainder of this year's cast includes comedians Andy Dick and D.L. Hughley, singers Wynonna Judd and Kellie Pickler, reality TV star Lisa Vanderpump, soap actor Ingo Rademacher, and Disney Channel actress Zendaya Coleman, who at 16 will be "Dancing's" youngest contestant ever.
Season 16 of "Dancing with the Stars" premieres March 18.
Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroYES