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Christian McCaffrey emphasized status as “complete back” to 49ers

Nov 30, 2023 at 4:49 PM--


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Christian McCaffrey wasn't certain about the San Francisco 49ers' intentions for him after a trade from the Carolina Panthers brought him to the Bay Area last year. He was always seen as a versatile player, someone just as dangerous catching the football as he was carrying it out of the backfield.

Upon arriving in Santa Clara, McCaffrey approached his new coach, Kyle Shanahan, to ensure the 49ers knew he was a "complete" running back, unafraid of a hefty workload.

Shanahan must have heard McCaffrey loud and clear. The running back is on pace for nearly 300 carries this season, which would be the most of his career, and has racked up an NFL-leading 939 rushing yards through 11 games.

Reflecting on that initial conversation with his coach, McCaffrey remarked, "I've had a lot of coaches say things about me in the past, so it's probably part of my insecurities and competitiveness of, like, I want to be a complete back. And I think this dates back to when I was in middle school and high school.

"And I had coaches in the NFL who didn't think I could run in between the tackles. And so I think, for me, it'll always be in the back of my head and something that I take a lot of pride in, just being a complete back."

Initially uncertain about how the 49ers perceived or planned to utilize him, McCaffrey explained, "When you go somewhere new, you don't know what they're thinking. I don't know if that was a validated conversation, but I felt like I needed to have it."

McCaffrey's performance on the field speaks volumes about his capabilities as a complete running back. Regardless of how the 49ers choose to utilize him, there's no questioning his impact on the football field.

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