49ers running back Christian McCaffrey recently said the trade that sent him from Carolina to San Francisco was “the best thing that ever happened to me.” On Friday, he clarified his remarks, given their obvious implication.
Via NFL.com, McCaffrey said during an appearance on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football that his happiness about joining the 49ers is not a reflection on the team he left.
“I do want to make it clear that was nothing against Carolina when I said that,” McCaffrey said. “I have no bad blood and I love everybody there. I still keep in touch with a lot of my teammates there and a lot of the coaches who I had the privilege of playing for there.”
Still, it’s clear that he sees the 49ers as a better overall operation than the Panthers. That’s hardly a controversial take, given the recent success of the 49ers and ongoing efforts of the Panthers to turn things around.
“I think early on in practice when I was in the huddle with George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Trent Williams, Brandon Aiyuk, Kyle Juszczyk and all these guys, I felt like I was on a Pro Bowl roster,” McCaffrey said. “It hit me that this was a special team. . . . I was very fortunate to come into a team that built a culture and had taken time to build a culture. To add on top of the roster, in my opinion, some of the best coaches in the NFL and guys who know how to use players like myself and have been doing it for so long. I just felt very fortunate to be a part of something that was already so developed so to say and like I said a culture that was established.”
McCaffrey won’t have to worry about his comments coming back to haunt him this year, because the 49ers don’t play the Panthers. Unless, of course, those ongoing efforts to turn things around in Charlotte result in the Panthers crossing paths with McCaffrey and the 49ers in the playoffs.