Season 26 of Dancing with the Stars premieres Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC

By Brianne Tracy
April 30, 2018 05:13 PM
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Dancing with the Stars winner Rashad Jennings is returning to the ABC reality series for the all-athletes season — but this time, as a judge!

The former NFL running back, who won season 24 of the show with his dancing pro partner Emma Slater, will appear as a guest judge on the May 7 episode.

“[I’m] super excited about the DWTS: Athletes Season!” Jennings, 33, tells PEOPLE exclusively. “I get to be back in the ballroom and see things from a safer perspective! Glad I don’t have to worry about pointing my toes or heel-leads!”

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Credit: Adam Rose/ABC/Getty Images

Competing this season are former Olympic figure skaters Tonya Harding, Adam Rippon and Mirai Nagasu; NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; Olympic snowboarder Jamie Anderson and luger Chris Mazdzer; Notre Dame’s national championship hero Arike Ogunbowale; former pro softball player Jennie Finch Daigle; retired professional baseball outfielder Johnny Damon; and Washington Redskins’ cornerback Josh Norman.

RELATED VIDEO: The Shimmy, the Sprinkler…the Cat Claw? ‘DWTS’ Season 26 Cast Show Off Their Go-To Moves!

Along with the change in casting, this season will feature a revamped set with a glittering jumbotron hanging above the ballroom floor in place of the usual giant mirror ball. The mirrorball trophy has also been updated to feature the word “Athletes.”

JOHNNY DAMON, TONYA HARDING, CHRIS MAZDZER, JENNIE FINCH, ADAM RIPPON, KAREEM ABDUL-JABAAR, MIRAI NAGASU, JOSH NORMAN
Credit: ABC/Lou Rocco

Aside from his guest judge appearance, Jennings is gearing up to release his debut book, The IF in Life: How to Get Off Life’s Sidelines and Become Your Best Self, on May 8. The book chronicles his journey from being an overweight kid to becoming a record-setting running back who has played with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Oakland Raiders, and the New York Giants.

Season 26 of Dancing with the Stars premieres Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.