Hines Ward on verge of winning 'Dancing' crown

Tue, May 24

Now it's time for Steeler Nation, one last time, to come forward and vote for one of its own.

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward is tied for first place on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" with Disney star Chelsea Kane as they, along with actress Kirstie Alley, vie for the mirrorball trophy on the 12th season of the show, ending Tuesday night.

"I expect them to support like they always do -- full force and all out. At first, I wasn't sure how they would take it with me being on a dancing show. But like the loyal fans that they are, Steeler Nation has supported me through it all and I am grateful for that," Ward said. "With my teammates, I know that a lot of them want to come to the finale, but many of them will not be able to due to workout schedules and family obligations. And that's OK. I am grateful to all of my teammates who were able to make it out during the course of the last few months."

On Monday night, Ward and partner Kym Johnson scored a 29 for the first round and a 30 for freestyle. Kane equaled that, and Alley came up just a little short. The judges' votes will be added to the public's vote, and a winner will be named Tuesday night.

Will Ward be the sixth athlete in the history of the show to win the title?

"Winning would mean a lot. When I first agreed to do the show, I was nervous. My goal was just not to be voted off first. And to come this far and be in the finale, it's surreal," Ward said. "Winning this would give me the satisfaction of knowing that I could conquer a fear, that I could do something I knew nothing about. I had never danced before and if I could win this, it would be amazing."