Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey participated in Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu’s “Radiothon” on 610 Sports Radio on Thursday, joining “Cody and Gold” for an 11-minute interview.
It would not be a stretch to call McCaffrey’s the NFL’s best skill-position player; McCaffrey led the league with 2,392 yards from scrimmage last season, 615 yards ahead of the pack.
With that in mind, it is worth paying attention to what McCaffrey told 610 regarding the Chiefs’ top draft pick: running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
“He can do everything,” McCaffrey explained in the interview. “I never looked at myself as a running back. I just looked at myself as a football player, as somebody who can line up in the slot, I can line up out wide... I took pride in being a complete back. When I say complete back, I mean somebody who can kind of do it all.
“So you look at a guy like Clyde, who I’ve seen a lot of LSU tape obviously with coach (Joe) Brady coming in now. He’s a guy who’s very instinctive, he can run the ball, he’s quick, makes people miss, but then you look at when he runs routes, he’s like Darren Sproles. He’s a shorter guy — no means small, but he is shorter. But he’s quick as hell, and he’s able to make guys miss before the ball’s in his hands and get open and run any route so when you see guys like that, I like to call them football players, not just running backs.”
If the Chiefs acquired anything close to McCaffrey in Edwards-Helaire, the offense will be in magnificent shape heading into their 2020 campaign and title defense.
McCaffrey, who recently signed a $64 million extension with the Carolina Panthers, can attest to the fact that running backs — at least to some teams (such as Kansas City and Carolina) do matter. McCaffrey scoffed when asked about those who say they do not.
“To me, that’s an asinine statement,” McCaffrey said. “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 the quarterback position were the highest-tiered guys on the field. I look at guys who 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 playoff run... 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.”
With the schedule now being released, we know the Chiefs will see McCaffrey and the Panthers in Week 9 — Sunday, November 8 at Noon in Arrowhead Stadium. Mathieu will be one of the individuals tasked with making sure McCaffrey does not ruin the day for the Chiefs.
“I just watched a whole bunch of film on him,” said McCaffrey on Mathieu. “All I know is that, in my opinion, he’s the best open-field tackler I’ve seen, and one of the best players in the league and has been for a while.”
He then pivoted the conversation back to Mathieu’s “Radiothon.”
“When you see guys like that... I think that’s just the standard that it should be in the NFL, where you got guys like that who are using their platform for something good, so it’s definitely very encouraging.”