Why Christian McCaffrey’s OTA Participation Matters, According to Kyle Shanahan

Why Christian McCaffrey’s OTA Participation Matters, According to Kyle Shanahan

Christian McCaffrey is entering his first full NFL season with the 49ers, but the 26-year-old running back is already displaying his leadership traits.

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan praised not only McCaffrey but also other veterans who have chosen to participate in organized team activities, although such practices are not mandatory.

“I mean, not just Christian, but I mean, the majority of our players,” Shanahan told reporters Tuesday. “I think it’s rare that we miss guys, so I think we’re doing as well as most teams. But, yeah, it’s huge. It’s a voluntary thing. So you sit there and it is what it is.

“But I think it’s really difficult to play football compared to other sports. We have a lot of rules that don’t allow you to play football. So it’s very good if the guys can prepare for training so they have a chance to improve and that’s cool. All the guys trying to work with that.”

Also, McCaffrey choosing to show up for the OTAs was helpful for someone like newly signed quarterback Sam Darnold. The 25-year-old, who signed a one-year deal in the offseason, noted that having a former teammate in the facility helps adapt to a new team.

“Christian is a great player who can go out and make plays not only in the running game but also in the previous game,” Darnold told reporters on Tuesday.

“And then coming here too. It’s always nice when you have someone you know and your friends with. When you come to a new place, be able to have a familiar face come over, so that’s always enjoyable.”

RELATED: Could Christian McCaffrey Repeat 1,000/1,000 Season With 49ers?

McCaffrey and other veterans likely set the tone for this 2023 NFL season as the 49ers have nearly reached the Super Bowl the past two seasons, falling in the NFC Championship Game against the Los Angeles Rams and Eagles of Philadelphia.

San Francisco has the roster to make it to Super Bowl LVIII and the Stanford product is ready to help lead the team.

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