Jan 6, 2014, 2:41 PM PDT
Ric Flair must have left his heart in San Francisco.
The legendary professional wrestler is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, but spent much of his illustrious career on the road. On Saturday, the self-proclaimed styling, profiling, limousine-riding, jet-flying, kiss-stealing, wheeling and dealing son of a gun made a surprise appearance for the San Francisco 49ers in Wisconsin.
“Ric Flair’s heart is with the 49ers all the way to the end,” said the eccentric WWE Hall of Fame inductee during the visit.
Flair’s support of the 49ers doesn’t sit well with Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith, who even owns a trademark Ric Flair robe. Flair used to be a Panthers season ticket holder, so Smith feels betrayed, especially since the 49ers and Panthers meet in the divisional round of the postseason on Sunday. Check out this tweet from Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer.
Ric Flair & Steve Smith are buddies. But Smith wasn't too friendly Monday. About Flair he said: "That San Francisco bridge has been burned."—
Tom Sorensen (@tomsorensen) January 06, 2014
Who’d have thought a retired wrestler would help ratchet up the feud between two NFL franchises?
On Monday, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh explained that it was defensive end Justin Smith’s idea to bring in Flair. After Smith made a comment during the week about how great it would be to hear from Flair, 49ers vice president of football operations Jeff Ferguson and the support staff got ahold of the WWE legend and locked down the appearance.
“It was cool,” Harbaugh said. “It got the red blood pumping the night before the game, which was good.”
During the visit, Flair claimed that he loves the 49ers and hates the Dallas Cowboys. He even mentioned how excited he was to finally meet Joe Montana.
The Panthers beat the 49ers 10-9 in San Francisco in Week 10. As Flair often says, “To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man.” The 49ers will have a lot to prove against Smith and the Panthers. Fortunately, they’ve already found a way to get under the Panthers’ skin. Maybe the 49ers’ new relationship with WWE is more beneficial than originally thought.
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