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XFL Head Coach Hines “Mickey” Ward Talks About The Disney In His DNA

Before leading his San Antonio Brahmas into battle on ABC and ESPN+ on Sunday, Ward reflects on his nickname, his Mickey Mouse tattoo - as featured in ESPN The Magazine - and things Disney

When Hines Ward was starring on football fields stretching from suburban Atlanta sandlots to Super Bowl venues, his ever present smile was his trademark.

He defied the odds – and his family’s orthodontist bills – by playing without a mouthpiece.

Hines Ward was featured in the Nov. 8, 2004 edition of ESPN The Magazine (Michael Elins for ESPN The Magazine)

Friends and foes nicknamed him Mickey, in reference to Mickey Mouse’s cheerful countenance. At some point, he had the image of The Walt Disney Company’s global ambassador etched into his right bicep: Notice Ward’s “Mickey” is striking the Heisman Trophy pose.

As head coach of the XFL’s San Antonio Brahmas, Ward hopes to continue his winning tradition with things Disney. The XFL’s 43-game season airs exclusively on Disney platforms this spring, including the Brahmas’ debut as they host the St. Louis Battlehawks on Sunday, Feb. 19 (ABC, ESPN+, 3 p.m. ET).

Over the years, Ward has recorded several amazing performances while being showcased on ESPN or ABC including:

Hines Ward
(Kelly Backus/ ESPN Images)

On May 13 on ABC and ESPN Deportes, Ward hopes to add the XFL Championship to his trophy case.

When he recently visited ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., headquarters, Ward – who was profiled in a 2004 edition of ESPN The Magazine feature – reflected on his love for Mickey Mouse and Disney.

Former ESPN college football analyst Anthony Becht coaches the Battlehawks, the opponents for Ward’s Brahmas. Like Ward, Becht has an ESPN The Magazine feature to reflect upon. Learn more here.

For more on The Walt Disney Company’s XFL programming, visit ESPN Press Room.

Spencer T. Jackson produced the video
ESPN and ABC are owned by The Walt Disney Company

Mickey Mouse strikes the Heisman Trophy pose on Hines Ward’s right arm. Tim Keown profiled Ward in 2004. (Michael Murphee for ESPN The Magazine) VIEW AS PDF]
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