In a surprise move last season, two-time Pro Bowl running back Christian McCaffrey was traded to the San Francisco 49ers.
After the shock from the trade from the Carolina Panthers wore off and the dust settled, McCaffrey said changing teams was the “best thing that ever happened” to him.
On Friday, the star running back attempted to clarify his comments during an appearance on “Good Morning Football.”
“I was very fortunate to come into a team that built a culture and had taken time to build a culture,” he said. “To add on top of the roster, in my opinion, some of the best coaches in the NFL and guys who know how to use players like myself and have been doing it for so long.
“I just felt very fortunate to be a part of something that was already so developed, so to say, and, like I said, a culture that was established.”
Christian McCaffrey (23) of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter of the NFC championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field Jan. 29, 2023, in Philadelphia. (Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)
But the 26-year-old wanted to make it clear his remarks were not meant to slight the Panthers.
The team will enter the 2023 season with expectations for another deep run in the playoffs, and McCaffrey is confident the roster is well-equipped to get the job done.
“I think this is a part of a team that, regardless of what that outcome (NFC championship game) was, we would still be so hungry for more,” McCaffrey said. “The way these guys show up to work every day. Obviously, we have moved on from it now. It’s still definitely in the back of your head. When you get that close and lose, it definitely fuels a fire and makes you want to get back there again. So, I think guys are hungry, and guys are ready to roll despite the outcome of that game.