Christian McCaffrey racing to make sudden affect for 49ers


SANTA CLARA — Christian McCaffrey sauntered by the 49ers’ locker room Friday with a gold, 49ers’ helmet in his proper hand, alongside together with his new, No. 23 jersey. Relatively than go straight to his locker subsequent to George Kittle, McCaffrey noticed defenders lurking close by, as he’s vulnerable to do.

So McCaffrey headed immediately for linebacker Dre Greenlaw and security Talanoa Hufanga as they sat side-by-side at their lockers.

This was a re-introduction. Two Sundays in the past, McCaffrey juked these defenders en path to his fiftieth and remaining landing for the Carolina Panthers, who misplaced that sport 37-15, and, on Friday, formally accomplished his commerce again to the Bay Space, the place he starred at Stanford from 2014-16.

“Everybody has been so cool to me, developing and saying hello, introducing themselves,” McCaffrey stated. “I’m completely happy to be in a room with nice gamers and to share the locker room with guys I’ve studied over years and watched tape on. It’s a surreal second for me.”

The dialog that ensued between McCaffrey and his former two foes got here full with questions, solutions and natural expletives from Greenlaw as they relived enjoying towards him. McCaffrey, in a peaceful method, defined to them his open-field strikes in a minute tutorial.

“He’s a Stanford man. He’s sensible, man. I’m going to select his mind,” Greenlaw stated. “I received’t overwhelm simply but, however give him 36 hours and I’ll be after him. We’re greatest pals now.”

“Watching how he performs, he’s a really sensible participant,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan stated. “He will get to the correct gap, he’s very clean, and I’ve seen that at each stage he’s performed.”

Shanahan and common supervisor John Lynch have recognized McCaffrey, 26, seemingly all his life, and that familiarity absolutely made it simpler for the 49ers (3-3) to ship 4 draft picks to the Panthers, these being within the 2023 draft’s second, third and fourth rounds, plus a 2024 fifth-rounder.

Earlier than Lynch launched into a Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame profession as a security, he arrived at Stanford as a quarterback, and that’s the place he bonded with McCaffrey’s father, Ed, who went on to get pleasure from his personal prolonged profession, together with as a large receiver on the 49ers’ final Tremendous Bowl-winning workforce (1994) earlier than becoming a member of the Denver Broncos beneath then-coach Mike Shanahan, Kyle’s father.

“It’s bizarre, the connections,” Lynch stated. “I bear in mind vividly throwing balls to Eddie after I was a quarterback and he was a receiver, and I bear in mind going to fraternity events with Lisa and Ed once they had been courting. … That is a lot larger than that.”

“You attempt to keep as enterprise as you may and one step at a time, however it’s particular,” McCaffrey stated. “Being again within the Bay Space the place I had so many nice reminiscences, going again to Stanford, having pals nonetheless right here, and understanding guys within the locker room already, it comes full circle. It’s particular and I’m completely happy to be right here.”

Shanahan stated the 49ers started mulling a commerce three weeks in the past, and Lynch commenced talks with the Panthers after the 49ers beat them 37-15 on Oct. 9, as soon as the 49ers embedded themselves in West Virginia earlier than final Sunday’s loss at Atlanta.

McCaffrey stated he was a “bystander” by all of it and discovered his destiny “5 seconds earlier than you guys came upon, and I used to be ecstatic.”

Shanahan stated the 49ers (3-3) plan to maintain McCaffrey “slightly bit” and never simply as a 2022 rental, seeing how his contract runs by 2025. Shanahan didn’t proclaim this transfer because the lacking piece of a Tremendous Bowl-bound puzzle, however he did acknowledge it would assist their “probabilities go up.”

“I by no means have a look at it as one-player away. We have now an opportunity to be actual good however we’re not there but,” Shanahan stated.

Operating again was arguably not the 49ers’ best want after accidents depleted one of many NFL’s top-ranked defenses. Lynch famous that as a result of the 49ers have “quite a lot of our core locked up,” the 49ers couldn’t move on “a chance for a participant like this.”

Additionally in pursuit was the division-rival Los Angeles Rams, who’ve overwhelmed the Niners to many a star participant in recent times. Lynch didn’t take a victory lap aside from to notice how vital divisional play is (the 49ers are 2-0 in NFC West video games this season, together with an Oct. 3 win over the Rams). “I’m positive glad he’s right here and never there,” Lynch stated.

Though McCaffrey missed 23 of 33 video games over the 2020-21 seasons due to accidents (shoulder, ankle, thigh, hamstring), that didn’t scare off the 49ers’ medical employees, which initially gave him a sterling grade when he entered the 2017 draft — and ultimately went No. 8 total to the Panthers.

“Popping out of Stanford, he had a pristine well being document. The final couple years have been tough, however this 12 months, he re-established that well being,” Lynch stated. “I’ve been there in my very own profession. … Generally there’s ebbs and flows.”

Lynch and Shanahan in contrast McCaffrey to Deebo Samuel, who additionally affords versatility as a large receiver and rusher, though in reverse order of their specialty.

Lynch described McCaffrey as a “excellent participant” for Shanahan’s system, including: “He brings much more than working again expertise,” Lynch stated. “He’s an extremely achieved receiver. He’s received an incredible really feel. He can play with velocity, with energy, with quickness. He can do all of it.”

McCaffrey stated of Shanahan: “You hear legends about how good of an offensive thoughts he’s. To be right here is thrilling.”

Can he play right here Sunday towards the Chiefs?

Lynch referred to as it a “tall order,” and whereas McCaffrey stated it’s finally a coach’s name, he plans to be taught “as a lot as humanly attainable the following two days and prepare to play a soccer sport.”

He rushed out to observe Friday’s walk-through apply and speak with coaches, as soon as he handed his bodily and after Lynch took him to the locker room to get his helmet, cleats and No. 23 jersey. (That quantity previously was assigned to Marlon Mack, a veteran working again on the apply squad who’s switched to No. 36.)

Compared to previous 49ers’ in-season arrivals, Jimmy Garoppolo waited a month earlier than stepping in because the beginning quarterback to complete the 2017 season in 5-0 vogue. Conversely, Emmanuel Sanders caught a first-quarter landing move from Garoppolo simply 5 days after getting traded in 2019 from Denver (and serving to beat McCaffrey and the Panthers 51-13 that sport).

McCaffrey got here “extremely low-cost” from a salary-cap standpoint, by advantage of restructuring his contract final 12 months. The 49ers pays him $690,000 in prorated wage this season. His contract runs by 2025, at base salaries of $11.8 million, $11.8 million and $12 million.

“I’ve clearly watched them a very long time, and so they have in all probability among the finest run video games and one of the vital explosives offenses within the league,” stated McCaffrey, noting he hasn’t had time to ponder his long-term future with the 49ers. “You go down the roster and also you have a look at all the blokes, that’s the factor I’m most enthusiastic about: getting within the locker room and assembly the blokes.”

Fullback Kyle Juszczyk didn’t meet him till Friday, however he’s admired his type and described it as: “Extraordinarily quick, extraordinarily aggressive, can actually do the whole lot. So I’m an enormous fan.”

As for sharing suggestions in his assembly with Greenlaw and Hufanga, McCaffrey added: “It goes each methods. It’s among the finest defenses I’ve ever confronted and I’m completely happy to be on the correct aspect of it now.”


Cornerback Charvarius Ward (groin) and security Talanoa Hufanga (concussion) are questionable, and Hufanga should move a contact take a look at to totally clear protocol.

Cornerback Jason Verrett (knee) is not going to play Sunday and the 49ers have till subsequent Wednesday to activate him off the physically-unable-to-perform checklist.

Defensive sort out Arik Armstead (foot, ankle) is out for the fourth time in 5 video games.


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