ESPN NFL analyst Keyshawn Johnson joins ABC’s Dancing with the Stars roster

For years, Keyshawn Johnson turned down inquiries about joining the cast of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars (DWTS). Retired from his NFL playing days since 2007, Johnson was preoccupied with the transition from pro football to entrepreneurship, the demands of fatherhood, and becoming a respected analyst on ESPN, where he appears weekly on Sunday NFL Countdown (10 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET) and Monday Night Countdown (6:30-8:30 p.m).

This morning on ABC’s Good Morning America, Johnson was named a cast member for the 17th season of DWTS. The hit ABC series returns Monday, Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. ET.

Keyshawn Johnson with Dancing with the Stars partner Sharna Burgess. (Photo credit: ABC)

Keyshawn Johnson with DWTS partner Sharna Burgess. (Photo credit: ABC)

Though he’s been reluctant in the past, Johnson is all in now — promising to bring to the reality show the work ethic and athleticism that made him the No. 1 pick in the 1996 NFL Draft and sustained him for 11 pro seasons.

Since DWTS airs live on Monday nights, Johnson will miss Monday Night Countdown while he’s competing, but he has the full support of ESPN.

“This is unique opportunity for Keyshawn and all of us will be rooting for him to make a long run on Dancing with the Stars like other former NFL players have done,” said Seth Markman, ESPN Senior Coordinating Producer, NFL studio shows. “All I can say is, he better not finish behind Bill Nye the Science Guy or he will never live it down.”

Sunday mornings, Johnson will continue to be on Sunday NFL Countdown before returning to the West Coast to tape DWTS in Hollywood.

In the video above, Johnson discusses with Front Row the opportunity to participate in DWTS.

Editor’s note: In the video, Johnson mistakenly mentions Jerry Rice as a former DWTS “Mirror Ball Trophy” winner. Rice finished runner-up.

Video above produced by Dave Williams; video below from ABC News

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