Harbaugh: No ‘Flair-up’ over wrestler’s ties

Updated: January 8, 2014, 8:36 PM ET


ESPN.com news services


SANTA CLARA, Calif. — San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is happy pro wrestler Ric Flair is supporting his team.

He also doesn’t understand why that should bother Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith, who earlier this week said Flair — who long has had North Carolina ties and has been friendly with several Panthers players — burned bridges with the team because of that support.

“What’s the matter with having two favorite teams? Is that a crime?” Harbaugh said Wednesday. “My opinion would be that it doesn’t make you a bad person to have two favorite football teams.”

At the request of the 49ers, Flair flew to Appleton, Wis., to address San Francisco on Saturday night prior to the team’s wild-card win over Green Bay on Sunday.

“I think Ric Flair’s a fantastic guy,” Harbaugh said. “I had a chance to spend quite a bit of time with him, half-hour, hour or so on Saturday. And then, of course, he spoke to our team. He spoke very highly of Carolina and his friendships with the Carolina Panthers.”

The move, though, rubbed Smith the wrong way, particularly as the Panthers and 49ers prepare for their NFC divisional matchup Sunday.

“As a guy who actually has a Ric Flair robe I’m real disappointed in seeing that. Real disappointed,” Smith told The Charlotte Observer on Monday. “I’m not sure if he’ll get the invite here. That Golden Gate Bridge has been burned.”

Information from ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson was used in this report.

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