Phil Hellmuth Won’t Be Welcome in Jim Harbaugh 49ers Locker Room

Written by:
Thomas Somach
Published on:
Jim Harbaugh 49ers

The NFL and the world of professional gambling are on a collision course.

It started today when Stanford University football coach Jim Harbaugh was hired to coach the NFL's San Francisco 49ers.

It could end up in an ugly mess.

And at the center of the budding controversy is none other than legendary poker pro Phil "Poker Brat" Hellmuth Jr.!

Hellmuth, an 11-time World Series of Poker champion, is a resident of Northern California.

In the past, Harbaugh, an admirer of champions of any kind, has had Hellmuth come into the pre-game locker room and address the Stanford football team before a big game.

The NCAA, college sports' governing body, said nary a word about a professional gambler lecturing and trying to motivate young and impressionable college kids.

But now that Harbaugh is an NFL coach in San Francisco--and Hellmuth is still nearby--will the coach continue to have the poker player address his team?

It's a longshot, to coin a phrase.

The gambling-unfriendly NFL has long had an antithesis towards wagering on pro football, that's well known.

But the NFL also has a problem with any other kind of gambling, too, which would presumably include poker.

In fact, the NFL's obsession against all things gambling even extends to the City of Las Vegas itself--a few years ago the NFL prohibited Vegas from running a tourism ad during the Super Bowl, even though the ad didn't mention gambling of any kind.

So what are the chances that a professional gambler like Hellmuth next year will get any where near an NFL locker room before a game?

About the same odds as Hellmuth lining up as right tackle for the 49ers next year.

By Tom Somach Staff Writer