What could have been. How many of us harbor a regret or 10 over a decision we made that in retrospect doesn’t look so good or should have been made differently. For ESPN NFL analyst, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback and NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young, he still thinks about letting Dancing with the Stars get away.

Yes, you read that correctly. Young has been asked to compete on ABC’s celebrity ballroom dancing competition. That shouldn’t be a surprise, as the show often tabs former athletes and current TV personalities to show off their dance moves on the ballroom floor. But the regret goes a little bit deeper for Young. As For The Win’s Jessie Karangu reports, Young was the first athlete that DWTS ever approached to be on the show. But he passed on the opportunity.

“I said no, that can not be and for good reason,” Young told producers of the hit show at the time. “My hips can’t move.”

Young ended up recommending former teammate Jerry Rice, and that worked out well for the Hall of Fame wide receiver. Rice competed on season two of DWTS in 2011, paired with professional dancer Anna Trebunskaya, and made it all the way to the finals of the competition. He finished runner-up to Drew Lachey.

Would Young have advanced that far in the competition? Probably not, especially if his hips were as bad as he says. Another key is that athletes really have to embrace the dancing. If they feel self-conscious or think the whole endeavor is unmanly (which was Lawrence Taylor’s problem in season eight), it just won’t go well. But Rice made it all right for former NFL stars to wear tight pants, sleeveless shirts and sequins on national television. He opened the door that Emmitt Smith walked through the following season and won the competition.

Is there any way Calvin Johnson would have dressed as a performer from the Broadway show Cats if Rice hadn’t paved the way?

Oh, what could have been, Steve Young. For what it’s worth, Young says that he now regrets not accepting the invitation to dance while everyone was looking.

“Oh man, I should’ve done it. What was I thinking?” he said. “It could’ve been me!”

Karangu also found out that Young turned down a movie cameo that another NFL Hall of Fame quarterback ended up making famous. Young didn’t indicate whether or not he regretted that choice, but if he mentioned it, there might be a twinge of disappointment over what could have been.

Life’s too short, Steve Young! Even if you won the Super Bowl and have a lucrative TV career.

[For The Win]

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He's written for Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.

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