How Christian McCaffrey-49ers trade is 'special' homecoming for NFL star

How 49ers trade is 'special' homecoming for CMC, family originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

On Friday, 49ers general manager John Lynch raved about how the team’s newest member, star running back Christian McCaffrey, is a perfect fit for San Francisco.

For the most part, the GM was talking about how McCaffrey’s skill set compliments coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense. But as many football fans already know, the All-Pro’s connection to the team, its personnel and the surrounding area go much deeper than that.

McCaffrey couldn’t hide his joy Friday as he detailed what it felt like returning to play football in the Bay Area, where he attended Stanford University from 2014 to 2016.

“It’s special,” McCaffrey said of being traded from the Carolina Panthers to the 49ers in the Bay. “You try to stay as business as you can and [go] one step at a time, but it is special, even just being back in the Bay Area where I’ve had so many great memories, going back to Stanford, having friends who are still here and knowing a lot of the guys in the locker room already.

“It all comes full circle and it’s special, and I’m lucky and proud to be here.”

Even full circle might be an understatement.

McCaffrey’s father Ed and mother Lisa both attended Stanford as well, where Ed was a first-team All-American wide receiver and Lisa was a soccer standout. While there, Ed played with none other than his son’s future GM, Lynch.

When Ed won a Super Bowl with the 49ers in 1994, Shanahan’s father Mike was the team’s offensive coordinator. And after winning a ring together, Mike was the head coach of the Denver Broncos where Ed played from 1995 to 2003.

A young Shanahan was the ball boy, and Ed played alongside 49ers assistant head coach Anthony Lynn. Running backs coach Bobby Turner, who recently returned to the 49ers after a health-related hiatus, coached in Denver back then.

Are you keeping up? Ed laid the entire history out during a Friday morning interview with SiriusXM NFL, and the serendipity of it all isn’t lost on him.

“When we say going back to family, going back to California, I mean, man. It feels like we’re going home,” Ed said. “... It feels like Christian’s going back home to a place where he went to school and has a lot of friends and people that he knows there.

“[He] knows a lot of people on the staff. When he was 3 and 4 years old, those coaches were coaching me and my teammates. We think about it all the time. It’s wild, how small this world can be.”

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McCaffrey’s homecoming is off to a good start, with the 26-year-old’s enthusiasm on Friday serving as a telling sign.

And while “Football is family” has long been a popular phrase in the sport, McCaffrey’s arrival in San Francisco shows just how true it can really be.

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