Christian McCaffrey

Why McCaffrey resented, then appreciated, being son of NFL father

NBC Universal, Inc.

Growing up with a father in the NFL certainly has its perks but can be frustrating for a young athlete looking to pave his own path.

Just ask 49ers superstar running back Christian McCaffrey or his coach, Kyle Shanahan.

McCaffrey recently sat down with former Stanford coach David Shaw for an exclusive interview, where he credited growing up with his father, former NFL wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, for his ability to block out noise as a star in the league today.

"I think from a young age, and you're probably familiar with this with your dad for sure and Kyle [Shanahan] the same," McCaffrey told Shaw. "Growing up I was Ed's kid, we were always Ed's sons and so in a way, that was an advantage for us because we got to experience a little bit of that already. We would hear the voices whenever we showed up to an AAU game and different things like that. And I used to have a small amount of resentment, I think myself and three of my brothers, we all kind of wanted to branch off and create our own name."

McCaffrey and his brothers soon realized their Pro Bowl-selection father was a resource they could tap into.

"But that was a very, very small time in our lives where we had that, and I think it quickly became here's a guy who did it the right way and played 13 years in the NFL and won three Super Bowls, been to a Pro Bowl, he's been cut, he's been traded, he's been at the highest of the game," McCaffrey shared. "That's like a cheat code right in your own home, use that to your advantage. I tried to do that as much as possible."

The lessons McCaffrey learned from being around his father and the intangible traits that were instilled in him played a role in his love for football.

"So I think from a young age, blocking out the noise, my focus quickly shifted to execution, and that's what it's always been about for me," McCaffrey explained. "Playing the game of football is so fun, the competition of football is what I love so much. Lining up against somebody and beating them, that's the best feeling on the planet, and you get to do it with your friends, your brothers and there's nothing like that.

"So when that's the focus for me, I think football is the most beautiful game on the planet because of that and it doesn't become about the noise or anything like that, it's just about beating the guy in front of you and I think because I learned that from a young age, all the other stuff doesn't matter."

Download and follow the 49ers Talk Podcast

Contact Us