Christian McCaffrey: If team gets rid of you, you take it personally

ByNick Wagoner ESPN logo
Friday, October 28, 2022

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- While new San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey was excited to be traded back to the Bay Area, he's also found additional motivation from the fact that the Carolina Panthers were willing to let him go.

Speaking to reporters in the Niners' locker room Thursday afternoon, McCaffrey briefly alluded to having a "chip on my shoulder" after the Panthers sent him to San Francisco for second-, third- and fourth-round picks in the 2023 NFL draft and a fifth-round selection in the 2024 draft.

Asked whether he was "pissed off" about being traded, McCaffrey elaborated further.

"I understand this is a business, but anytime somebody gets rid of you or something happens, you take it personally," McCaffrey said. "I'm so happy to be here, but yeah, absolutely [I am]. It's part of the league. It happens to coaches, happens to players and it's just more wood in the fire."

Given the high price the Niners paid to acquire McCaffrey, he understands there are accompanying expectations, but he intends to keep doing the things that have made him successful in the league.

"It's just do my job the best I possibly can," McCaffrey said. "I don't try to put exterior pressure on me. I wanna win for this team, I wanna win for these guys, and I want to win for the whole Bay Area because they gave up a lot to get me and I know that. So, it's not extra pressure, but there's definitely a sense of urgency on my plate that I wanna win."

After the trade and the 48-hour sprint to prepare for Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs, McCaffrey is enjoying his first full week as a member of the Niners. McCaffrey said he is essentially living at the team facility in order to absorb as much of coach Kyle Shanahan's playbook as possible.

Having a full week to catch up means McCaffrey should have a larger role Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams than the 21 snaps he played against the Chiefs. This week offers another bit of familiarity.

In McCaffrey's final game before the trade, the Panthers played the Rams at Sofi Stadium in Los Angeles, the same opponent and location the Niners will see on Sunday. McCaffrey posted 158 yards from scrimmage on 20 touches in that meeting.

Shanahan said Wednesday the whole game plan will be available to McCaffrey this week despite his still being new to the playbook.

"It's a real challenge for anybody, but you have to work at it," Shanahan said. "And he did that a lot in the 48 hours he was here to be a part of it last week, and I'm not worried about him doing it this week, too."