Christian McCaffrey has admitted that he initially was “angry” with the Panthers for trading him. Now, after 14 games (including the postseason) and seven months with the 49ers, the star running back is counting his blessings.
“In hindsight, I firmly believe it’s the best thing that ever happened to me,” McCaffrey said at the annual Dwight Clark Legacy Series event, via Cam Inman of Bay Area News Group.
49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said last week that McCaffrey makes his job “easier.”
McCaffrey totaled 1,210 yards of offense and 10 total touchdowns with the 49ers, bringing his 2022 season total to 1,880 yards from scrimmage and 13 total touchdowns.
In his first full season with the 49ers — and with the quarterback position in question at the moment with Brock Purdy rehabbing from elbow surgery — McCaffrey could have an even bigger role in 2023.
McCaffrey, though, knows it will take more than him for the 49ers to do what they want to do.
“It takes everybody,” McCaffrey said. “This is the biggest team game in the world that gets so much individual attention.
“You’ve got guys named the G.O.A.T., and this and that. It’s true and it’s great. But no one is anybody without their teammates in this game. That’s what makes it so special. That’s why people watch. That’s why we love to play it.”
The 49ers haven’t won a Super Bowl since the 1994 season, and McCaffrey’s father, Ed, was part of that team. So, Christian McCaffrey was familiar with the organization’s history even before he arrived.
“I say this with the utmost respect, this is a family,” McCaffrey said. “It’s the first time I felt like, even alumni, just getting to know these guys, it’s special; it’s different, and there’s a reason it’s sustainable and has been for so long. The word I would use now is, just very proud to be a part of this organization.”