April 20, 2009 12:00 AM

To fans, Giants legend Lawrence Taylor’s early performances on Dancing with the Stars fell short of a touchdown. The NFL great trudged along on the ballroom floor while partner Edyta Sliwinska twirled and smiled for the both of them.

But last week things changed for Taylor, who received some handy advice from season 7 fan favorite and fellow footballer Warren Sapp.

“Warren has this infectious personality, so when he came to rehearsal he instantly made L.T. feel better,” Sliwinska says. “He told him, ‘You can’t worry about the judges. You just go out there and have fun. If you’re not having fun then why do the show?’

“This whole experience has been very stressful for Lawrence,” Sliwinska explains, noting that unlike other football players who’ve danced before him, “L.T. did not ever see the show before he came here. He knew he was going to be judged, but not this harsh.”

The couple was nearly eliminated on April 7 when they had to do a dance-off against David Alan Grier and his partner, Kym Johnson. “We did not like that at all,” says Sliwinska of nearly being voted off. “David had a higher score and he still got eliminated. It wasn’t right.”

But the reprieve gave the pair a second chance. “After that we had a good talk and we decided, hey, the fans voted us through so we need to just have fun and enjoy it for them. I think he’s really ready to have fun.”

Regardless of how long the couple last in the ballroom, one thing is certain: Sliwinska will trade in her legwarmers for a laptop this summer.

“I’m enrolling in summer session at UCLA,” says Sliwinska, who’s taking courses in journalism and communications. “I have been wanting to do this for so long and this summer we are off so it’s time. I can’t wait.” –Monica Rizzo

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