Christian McCaffrey: ‘Asinine’ To Claim Running Backs Don’t Matter In Today’s NFL

RADIO.COM
May 07, 2020 - 12:26 pm

The NFL may have become a pass-heavy league, but don’t tell Panthers star Christian McCaffrey that running backs like himself have lost any value.

“That’s an asinine statement,” McCaffrey said on the Cody & Gold Show on Thursday when asked to respond to critics who claim running backs don’t matter much in the NFL. “When you look around the league and you look at what the running back position has meant to certain teams, I don’t know when that narrative started happening. It used to be the running back and quarterback position were the highest-tiered guys on the field. I look at guys that I looked up to, guys like Emmitt Smith, guys like LaDainian Tomlinson. Emmitt Smith, he played 12-plus years. These guys played long (careers) and were at the forefront of being the team’s most important player. So you look at what guys like Derrick Henry did in the (Titans’) playoff run.

“I don’t know when that narrative started happening. You see it so much now, and you look at some of the most explosive players in the league, and they are running backs. So to me, I just think it’s not a very educated statement.”

McCaffrey is considered by many to be the best running back in the NFL, and he just signed a four-year contract extension with the Panthers in April that will be worth up to $64 million. McCaffrey, who turns 24 in June, rushed for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns while adding 116 catches for 1,0005 yards and four touchdowns through the air. His 116 receptions are the most for a running back in NFL history.

McCaffrey joined the Cody & Gold Show to support Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu’s Radiothon, which is raising money for COVID-19 relief. During his interview, McCaffrey also spoke on the Chiefs’ decision to select LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire at No. 32 overall in the first round.

McCaffrey had high praise for Edwards-Helaire.

“That’s the biggest thing – he can do everything,” McCaffrey said. “The running back position is kind of turning into, you know, I never looked at myself as a running back. I always looked at myself as a football player, as somebody who can, I can line up in the slot, I can line up out wide. Obviously, I have a lot to work on, but I took pride in being a complete back. So when I say complete back, I mean somebody who can kind of do it all.

“So you look at a guy like Clyde, I’ve seen a lot of LSU tape … he’s a guy who’s very instinctive. He can run the ball. He’s quick. He makes people miss. And when he runs routes, he looks like (Darren) Sproles. Obviously, a shorter guy – he’s by no means small, but he is shorter. But he’s quick as hell, and he’s able to make guys miss before the ball is in his hands and get open and run any route. When you see guys like that, I like to call them football players, not just running backs.”

For more information on Mathieu’s Radiothon and to help support COVID-19 relief, click here.

 

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