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Michael Sam

TRAINING BEGINS

(No Cleats, Just Capezios)

2/28/2015 11:26 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

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With just a couple of weeks until the NFL's veteran's combine, Michael Sam spent his Friday focusing on his footwork ... for "Dancing with the Stars!"

Sam left the DWTS rehearsal studios clutching a pair of ballroom dancing shoes ... and got into a waiting car with his boyfriend Vito.

"Dancing" premieres on March 16. The NFL veteran's combine is March 22.

Question is ... can Sam have his cake and eat it too?

We'll see ..

Jason Collins

Back Off M. Sam

'Dancing' Doesn't Mean He's Over Football

2/27/2015 12:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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Michael Sam's decision to join "Dancing with the Stars" does NOT mean he's throwing in the towel on his NFL career ... so says his friend Jason Collins who says he can't wait to watch the guy kill it in the ballroom.

Sam's been taking heat from critics who say the decision to join "DWTS" shows he's more concerned about being a celebrity than playing in the NFL.  

But Collins -- who famously came out as the NBA's first openly gay player in 2013 -- says the haters are wrong ... and he's got proof to back up his argument. 

However, Collins says he does have ONE concern about Sam ... and it's something his dance partner will definitely care about. 

Michael Sam

Football's Still My Priority

... Despite 'Dancing' Gig

2/24/2015 7:49 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

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Michael Sam is adamant ... his decision to join "Dancing with the Stars" does NOT mean he's giving up his NFL dreams ... saying, "Football remains my unquestioned number 1 priority."

TMZ Sports broke the story ... Sam signed on to join Season 20 ... which begins next month. 

Some people have said the move is proof that Sam is throwing in the towel on his football career and wants to focus on exploiting his off-the-field fame. 

But moments ago, Sam fired back at the critics ... saying, "Football remains my unquestioned number 1 priority, however, while I continue to train and stay ready, I am ecstatic to participate in a fun, athletic competition like so many players before me have done."

"Filming this off-season is very flexible and allows me to be part of the veterans combine 3/22 if accepted or any other workouts."

"I’m looking forward to getting started with @PetaMurgatroyd and winning! Thanks for the support! #TeamSambatroyd."

Michael Sam

I Just Signed!!!

With 'Dancing with the Stars'

2/23/2015 2:54 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0223-michael-sam-dancing-with-the-stars-TMZ-02Michael Sam will be competing in March, not on the football field, but on the "Dancing with the Stars" hardwood ... TMZ Sports has learned.

Michael -- the first openly gay player drafted in the NFL -- will be part of Season 20, which fires up next month.

Here's the problem. Sam -- who insinuated he was cut from the NFL because he is gay -- has vowed to get back in the league and said he'd take part in the first-ever veteran's combine on March 22.  

But Sam needs to prove he has what it takes, and we're thinkin' some of the owners might question his commitment if he's focusing on the rumba rather than rumbling.

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Rob Gronkowski

Considering 'Dancing with the Stars'

... Spikes Dolphins Hat

2/16/2015 5:42 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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Rob Gronkowski tells TMZ Sports he's definitely thinking about doing "Dancing with the Stars" one day ... but says he's worried that formal training will RUIN his trademark skills.  

Gronk was out in NYC this weekend ... where he broke SEVERAL pieces of big news, including:

-- Did he nail that hot local reporter on Valentine's Day? 
-- He's been training teammate Chandler Jones to fight his brother Jon "Bones" Jones
-- He NEVER wants to leave the New England Patriots.

Oh, he also notices our photog is wearing a Miami Dolphins hat ... SO HE SPIKES THE HELL OUT OF IT!!! 

Check out the clip -- amazingness. 

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Derek Hough

Not Saying I'm NOT

Dating Kate Hudson

12/12/2014 11:06 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Derek Hough
 isn't ready to admit he's banging Kate Hudson -- but he's definitely not denying it either.

The "Dancing with The Stars" pro was in Boca Raton Thursday -- at a Tony Robbins seminar of all things -- when a photog popped the question about rumors he and newly single Kate are hooking up ... and his response is a little weird.

Hough and Huds were reportedly making out at an L.A. hot spot last Friday night -- he left out the front door, and she was spotted sneaking out the back -- sans engagement ring.

So, Derek ... if you're NOT with her ... why not just say so? Just sayin'.

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Jonathan Bennett

Takes EPIC FALL

'Dancing' Star Goes Boom

11/27/2014 12:02 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
TMZ TV
112614_tv_tune_in_jonathan_bennet_launchBefore Jonathan Bennett hit the "Dancing With the Stars" ballroom, he got turnt up with some interpretive dance ... a Bette Midler classic ... and one of the wildest, most painful staircase falls we've ever seen!

So much for the wind beneath his wings. tmz-on-tv-3

'Mean Girls' Star

MASSIVE FAIL

In 'DWTS' Prep Video

11/26/2014 8:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
1126-mean-girls-star-massive-fail-ytJonathan Bennett's "Dancing With the Stars" appearance almost never happened ... because he suffered a humongous fall as he jokingly tried to prep for the show ... and it was all caught on tape.

So here's the deal ... the "Mean Girls" star shot this video a few months back, but kept it hidden until "DWTS" finished its run (congrats, Alfonso).

In the video, he and a few friends attempt an "interpretive dance" ... but Bennett tried a move on the railing of a staircase that ended ... well, you gotta see it. He ended up with 2 broken ribs and his arm in a sling for 2 months.

The best part -- they were dancing to "Wind Beneath My Wings."

Seeing as he was the one who allowed the video to be posted ... Bennett's ego escaped unscathed.
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Tom Bergeron

Cracks Erin Andrews

Stalking Joke

11/25/2014 6:06 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
112514_tom_dwts_launchTom Bergeron hit a little too close to home Monday night on "Dancing With the Stars" ... when he made a stalking joke about Erin Andrews ... who very famously dealt with a stalker of her own.

Andrews was debriefing Alfonso Ribeiro when she began gushing over Will Smith ... who went on a social media campaign supporting his former "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" co-star. 

After Andrews repeatedly invited Will to show up to a taping, Bergeron followed it up by saying Will could do worse than having Erin as a stalker ... insinuating it's ok for hot chicks to stalk guys.

You'll recall ... Erin dealt with a stalker/Peeping Tom who secretly filmed her inside a hotel room and posted a video of her naked online. The creepy peeper was sentenced to 30 months.

'DWTS' Celeb Janel Parrish

Rehearsal Injury

Makes Final Performance Iffy [VIDEO]

11/24/2014 4:39 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE
DWTS Janel Parrish InjuryJanel Parrish just had her chances of winning the Mirrorball Trophy derailed ... at least that's the way it looks after she suffered a gnarly injury during rehearsal.

TMZ just got this video of the "Pretty Little Liars" star and Val Chmerkovskiy practicing lifts. Something bad clearly happened because you see her dissolve into tears as she hobbles to a room where doctors examine her.

It looks like she suffered a broken or compressed rib.

She hasn't been counted out, but it doesn't look good. The finals are tonight.

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'DWTS' Celeb Janel Parrish

'Pretty Little Liars' Could

Sabotage Dance Title

11/22/2014 12:30 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE
Dancing With The Stars Janel Parrish
Janel Parrish is pulling double duty on "Pretty Little Liars" AND "Dancing with the Stars" -- and TMZ has learned she's spread herself so thin, she's alienated castmates on both shows.

DWTS sources tell us ... Janel's pro dance partner, Val Chmerkovskiy is freaking out ... because she's missed two days of critical dance rehearsals due to long days of filming on PLL.  

We're told ... Val believes he and Janel have a real shot at winning the trophy -- the finals are Monday and Tuesday -- but thinks her PLL schedule is sabotaging their chances.

As for Janel's "Pretty Little Liars" co-stars ... we're told Lucy Hale and others in the cast have been conspicuously absent from the DWTS set the entire season ... and have given her little to no support -- even when she danced to the PLL theme song.

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Alfonso Ribeiro

May Be Forced Off DWTS

11/14/2014 9:41 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE
Alfonso Ribeiro Injury
Alfonso Ribeiro -- the front-runner on "Dancing with the Stars" -- may have to pull out of the competition days before the semifinals ... and it's all because of The Carlton Dance.

Our DWTS sources say Ribeiro injured his back during rehearsal Wednesday night as he tried to overcompensate for a groin injury which he suffered on the show, performing his signature move.

The back injury is bad -- he's having trouble even walking. Alfonso skipped rehearsals Thursday so he could get an MRI.

Doctors are telling him the next 48 hours are critical, but they say there's a real chance he can't dance.

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Dancing With the Stars

Threatens Dance Pros ...

Don't Tango With the Competition

10/21/2014 12:20 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE
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"Dancing With the Stars"
 is drawing a line in the parquet floor with some of its famous pros -- warning them to stay away from an upstart live dance show, or risk a tango ... in court.

Our 'DWTS' sources tell us producers fired off warning letters to several dancing pros right after they sued a touring show called "Ballroom With A Twist." The letter informs the dancers they could be violating their "DWTS" contract if they do any side gigs with the rival.

'Dancing' vets Peta Murgatroyd, Tony Dovolani and Val Chmerkovskiy have all appeared on promotions for 'Ballroom' ... but the show hasn't started touring yet. We're told they've now been told to bail, or face potential legal action.

In other words ... they own you, jive turkeys.

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