The "Silent Assassin" made a big bang.
Claiming the aforementioned nickname and donning a James Bond-style tuxedo, Hines Ward and his "Dancing with the Stars" partner Kym Johnson tangoed their way to their first 10 of the reality television competition and tied "The Karate Kid" star Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff for the high score in the individual dances with 36 points (out of a possible 40).
"I like the way you play it -- big, strong, masterful, determined," said judge Bruno Tonioli, who awarded the pair their 10. "Yet, you managed to retain the slinky, smooth, stealthy action of a panther going for the kill."
There was also a tie in the group dance portion of the show, with the six remaining pairs split into two teams of three couples and each earning 30s. As the leader in the overall standings, Ward and Johnson were able to pick their team, adding actress Kirstie Alley and partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy and the pairing of reality television star Kendra Wilkinson and Louis Van Amstel.
In Ward's introduction segment, former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis was shown paying a visit to his former teammate during Ward and Johnson's practice.
"I really wanted to put on a show for him," Ward said, "because if I can impress him, I can impress anybody."
With Ward still holding the top spot in the overall standings at 214 points, Bettis isn't expecting anything less.
"The competition is in for a serious battle," Bettis said before Ward's dance. "This guy is the ultimate competitor."
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