Christian McCaffrey: I’ll never take football for granted again

Carolina Panthers Training Camp
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For Christian McCaffrey, the best thing about this year is it isn’t last year.

Three different injuries limited the Panthers running back to three games, 76 touches, 374 yards and six touchdowns in 2020.

McCaffrey looked like himself again during the first day of organized team activities Monday.

“It feels really good,” McCaffrey said, via Darin Gantt of the team website. “Just putting the helmet on again and being with my teammates, doing what I love to do, it’s something I’ll never take for granted again. I’m super happy to be back.

“It’s just fun. It’s fun to be back on the field playing football. I’m thankful that we can be back here and get together in a semi-normal capacity and play the game we love.”

A year after 1,387 rushing yards, 1,005 receiving yards and 19 total touchdowns landed McCaffrey a big payday, he couldn’t stay on the field. A high-ankle sprain in Week 2 kept him on injured reserve six games. He returned Week 9 only to injure his shoulder. McCaffrey was close to returning in Week 14 when he injured a quad.

“It happens. Injuries happen. It’s part of the game,” McCaffrey said. “I’m really focused on this year and extremely excited about what this team can do this year.”

McCaffrey, who turns 25 in June, is one of the favorites for comeback player of the year. Only Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has better odds.