The San Francisco 49ers traded for then Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey on October 20, 2022. Three days later, McCaffrey made his Niners debut against the Kansas City Chiefs, where he played 22 snaps.
Twelve of those were on passing routes, while eight of those were on running downs. San Francisco sprinkled in two pass blocking snaps for good measure. Taking on a similar workload as Jeff Wilson that day, who had been in the same offense since 2018, tells you all you need to know about CMC’s work ethic.
McCaffrey’s teammates echoed a similar sentiment Tuesday. Quarterback Sam Darnold is thankful to have a familiar face in McCaffrey, and believes Christian gets his work ethic from his family:
“I’m used to it. It’s just his work ethic, that’s never going to change. It really stems from meeting his dad, meeting his mom, it kind of stems from that, from him growing up and being raised that way. He’s just got a great work ethic and I think guys respond to that really well and it kind of pushes the guys around him.”
The McCaffrey’s hit the athletic lottery. McCaffrey’s dad, Ed, had over 7,000 yards receiving and 55 touchdowns during his NFL career as a wide receiver. Christian’s Mom, Lisa, was a soccer star at the University of Stanford and is the daughter of an Olympic sprinter.
Christian has two brothers that play college football, while his brother, and former Niner, Max, plays for the Packers. That type of household breeds a level of competitiveness few families could rival.
So, it’s no surprise that Christian quickly acclimated himself to the 49ers locker room. Here’s quarterback Trey Lance on McCaffrey:
“Yeah, he sets the standard. He’s quickly grown into a great leader in our locker room, and I think a lot of guys had a feeling that that would happen pretty quickly just based on who he is. And after meeting him, how he carries himself. Just a very impressive human being.
Some people call him like a little [DL Nick] Bosa, just the way he’s just so meticulous with his routine and how he takes care of his body. And I’ve learned a ton from him, not only football, but being able to talk ball with him is awesome just because he’s seen so many different offenses, defenses and looks. Just being able to be around him as far as his routine and how meticulous he is.”
The 49ers reeled off 12 wins once McCaffrey had a full week to prepare in the 49ers offense. Star players bring the best out of their teammates, and it's evident McCaffrey has done the same during his short stint in the Bay Area.