Christian McCaffrey hopes missed time in 2020 can be positive in long run

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Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey hopes that there was a silver lining inside the black cloud that lingered over his head in 2020.

McCaffrey suffered a high-ankle sprain in Week 2, missed the next six games, and then separated his shoulder upon returning to the lineup in Week 9. He would not return to action before the regular season came to an end, which could have made for a lost year.

During a Wednesday appearance on PFT Live, McCaffrey discussed how he’s trying to keep that from being the case. He said he had to “quickly learn to be patient and find positives through negative situations” due to the injuries and that he learned a lot about “the flow of the game in general” by watching games instead of playing in them. McCaffrey also realized other things about himself.

“It made me a lot hungrier,” McCaffrey said. “It took me out of my realm for a while to understand how much I love this game. You kinda get that 7-year-old football love back when it’s taken from you. Ultimately, this is something that might add another three, four years to my career. I definitely view it, although negative in the moment, it will be a positive in the long run.”

It will be a while before we can see the long-term impact on McCaffrey, but a short-term return to form would be a plus for the Panthers’ second season with head coach Matt Rhule.