In mid-October, the San Francisco 49ers were struggling with a 3-3 record, and they were in need of a jump-start.
That is when they pulled off a blockbuster trade with the Carolina Panthers that landed them star running back Christian McCaffrey, and he was a major factor in their subsequent turnaround and hot streak.
However, when he first found out he had been sent to California, he wasn’t happy.
CMC initially wasn't thrilled leaving the Panthers midway through last season https://t.co/05B5DzhAQb
— 49ers on NBCS (@NBCS49ers) March 3, 2023
“It’s a weird deal because there’s so many emotions, and the first emotion is probably anger,” McCaffrey recently said. “Like, you guys don’t want me anymore? That’s really what it is. ‘Well, they got a lot for you.’ Nah, like you think you’re better off without me; that’s what it is. You’re pissed off, but then you’re excited.”
McCaffrey had played his first five full seasons in Carolina, and he established himself as one of the NFL’s best dual-threat running backs.
In 2019, he had a season for the ages by becoming only the third player to ever log at least 1,000 rushing and receiving yards in the same year, and it earned him Pro Bowl and All-Pro first-team honors.
But he was dogged by injuries for a couple of years afterward, and the Panthers decided to hit the reset button after a bad start.
In San Francisco, McCaffrey fit in seamlessly with head coach Kyle Shanahan’s run-heavy offense, and he eventually became something of a security blanket for the team.
They got blown out by the Kansas City Chiefs in their first game with him, only to then run off a 12-game winning streak that only ended when quarterback Brock Purdy suffered a torn UCL in his throwing elbow during the NFC Championship Game.
In 11 regular season games with the 49ers, McCaffrey put up 746 rushing yards, 464 receiving yards and 10 total touchdowns, plus an additional touchdown off a pass in Week 8.
By giving them a big-time running threat, he helped open up their passing game and make things easier on all of his teammates.NEXT: Christian McCaffrey Opens Up About 49ers Locker Room