Kyle Shanahan's relationship with Christian McCaffrey comes full-circle

Shanahan's history with CMC comes full-circle after 49ers trade originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Kyle Shanahan has known Christian McCaffrey since before the All-Pro running back was tearing up opposing defenses in the NFL.

After the 49ers completed a blockbuster trade for McCaffrey on Thursday night, the relationship between the running back and his new coach came full circle. Shanahan's father Mike coached McCaffrey's father Ed for one season as the offensive coordinator on a Super Bowl-winning 49ers team in 1994 and then as the head coach of the Denver Broncos for nine seasons from 1995-2003.

Shanahan joined KNBR 680's "Murph & Mac Show" on Friday morning, where he recalled spending time with a young Christian and his siblings after Broncos practices and how big of a fan he was of McCaffrey's father.

"It's pretty cool, it's eerie in that way," Shanahan said. "Everyone says I babysat Christian, I can't quite remember ever babysitting. I remember my sister babysitting all the time, but I remember after Broncos games and stuff always throwing balls to them as we waited for our dads to finish up. But it was a group of four crazy boys who were very young, so I didn't know them very well, but Ed [McCaffrey] was like my hero. Ed was the dude I wanted to be. I was a receiver, he was a receiver, that's why I chose 87 when I went to college because I always wanted to be that type of receiver. I wasn't quite like that, but that's what I try to be. So I always knew him well and I knew (his wife) Lisa well, just being around there all the time."

In his first season as coach of the 49ers, Shanahan passed on McCaffrey, who went No. 8 overall to Carolina, in the 2017 NFL Draft, instead selecting defensive end Solomon Thomas with the third-overall pick. Now the rest is history, and the 49ers wound up with McCaffrey five and a half years later.

"And then when we came here it was crazy, just to study Christian coming out of Stanford there, they always give me a bunch of crap for not taking him," Shanahan said of McCaffrey's parents. "And now I talked to Christian last night and told him this was our plan the whole time along, we knew we would have him six years later, so why take him then?"

While speaking to NBC Sports Bay Area in Jan. 2020 at Super Bowl LIV Radio Row, Ed McCaffrey remembered Shanahan as a young ball boy with the 49ers in 1994.

"Kyle was a ball boy back then," Ed McCaffrey said. "He was taking notes and learning back in the day, giving the ball back to Steve Young and Jerry Rice. But he was always paying attention, kind of a student of the game, how people carry themselves, how we practice, what it meant to be a player that played and practiced and prepared to be a champion. So it's no surprise at all to me that he's back here with his team."

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The Shanahans and McCaffreys have an extensive history with one another and after a blockbuster trade, the two families are reunited on the 49ers, the same organization that Shanahan and McCaffrey's fathers won a Super Bowl with in 1994.

Coincidence?

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