Wherever pro wrestling legend Ric Flair goes, he draws a crowd.
So, it was no surprise when Flair, who was invited to attend Tennessee Titans training camp on Thursday by head coach Mike Vrabel, suddenly found himself in an impromptu post-practice media scrum.
Flair, 73, shared with reporters what he told the Titans in the huddle before heading into the locker room and disclosed that the highlight of his day was getting to watch his favorite player up close and personal.
“I didn’t realize he had that speed. When he gets in the open [field], he turns it up. You didn’t see that in college. I just saw a hell of a running back. But to excel in the pros … 2,000 yards; think about it, that puts him in the same class with Adrian Peterson and players like that. That’s not a night off.”
Flair, a Charlotte native, grew up a fan of the South Carolina Gamecocks — SEC rivals of the Crimson Tide.
“My favorite player in the NFL right now is Derrick Henry,” Flair said. “I hated him at Alabama; I love him here.
Henry had a similar love-hate relationship with Flair as a young wrestling fan but has since grown to admire the WWE Hall of Famer, who will wrestle his final match Sunday at Nashville Municipal Auditorium in a tag team match with his son-in-law Andrade El Idolo against Hendersonville native Jeff Jarrett and All Elite Wrestling/Ring of Honor star Jay Lethal.
“I wasn’t a big fan of his when I used to watch wrestling too because I always thought he was the bad guy,” Henry remarked. “He’s a legend in the WWE world, so it’s cool to be able to meet him, hear him talk and hear him say my name. I watched him on TV growing up for a long time, so that’s kind of surreal to meet people like him and let him come out and talk to us after practice.”
Flair also shared his thoughts on Vrabel and whether he could cut it in the world of pro wrestling.
“He’s big enough,” he said. “I forgot how big he is. Remember, he was a linebacker so, he’s probably at 260 right now. Absolutely [he can cut it as a wrestler], I can tell by talking to him he’s tough.”
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