Christian McCaffrey

Tiki Barber believes CMC is most athletic NFL running back ever

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Tiki Barber thinks highly of 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey – very highly. 

The 48-year-old retired running back, who played 10 NFL seasons with the New York Giants, shared his perspective on San Francisco’s dynamic playmaker, who won the 2023 NFL Offensive Player of the Year after finishing with 21 total touchdowns and leading the league with 2,023 scrimmage yards.

To say the least, Barber was full of praise for the 49ers star for a particular reason.

“I was watching a game with my brother, and we were watching [Christian McCaffrey] do these things that you don’t see running backs do,” Barber said. “Like, do you know the hurdle that we see now with running backs? [Kyle Juszczyk] did it in the Super Bowl. Like, you just jump over guys. But it’s more like a leap, like they’re jumping up. They’re not, like, hurdling.”

Just as familiar with the game and its variables is Barber’s twin, Ronde, who suited up for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 16 seasons and won a Super Bowl along the way. 

But outside of the gridiron, the Barber twins always have been versed in other sports, with Ronde running track and field at Virginia Tech, giving him more credentials to judge McCaffrey’s generational athletic abilities. 

“Now, my brother was a hurdler in high school, and he was a national champion indoor and his form was perfect,” Barber added. “It was running and running and lifting a leg and diving over.”

But what McCaffrey did against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium last season was unlike anything the Barber twins had witnessed in the sport. 

“Christian McCaffrey had a touchdown run,” Barber said. “I guess it was a reception, actually… It was Week 12 or 13, and he caught the ball, he had traffic in front of him, a guy is going down towards his ankles and he perfectly hurdled him. 

“Like, a perfect hurdle is not breaking stride. It’s like going over the hurdle and still keeping your cadence intact.” 

The 49ers running back’s 14-yard touchdown run left the brothers in sheer awe, convinced that there has never been a better athlete to play the running back position in the NFL than McCaffrey. 

“He goes and scores the touchdown, and I’m just looking at that like, ‘Who can do that?’ Barber said. “That’s a track move in the middle of a football game.

“Me and [brother] looked at each other like, ‘Dude, this is the best athlete to ever play this position.’ He’s got the physical tools. He’s tough as hell. He’s dynamic. He can catch the ball out of the backfield.”

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