Christian McCaffrey is a rising star in the NFL. In his third season, he finally showed the extent of his star potential while the Panthers struggled to get much out of everybody else. As good as he was, however, McCaffrey may be even better for the NFL off the field. And he’ll showcase this during Super Bowl LIV.
Christian McCaffrey’s value
McCaffrey wasn’t just a star in the 2019 season, he was a record-breaking superstar. After putting up decent numbers in 2018, he came out as one of the best running backs in 2019, rushing for 1,387 yards en-route to 15 touchdowns and 57 first downs. The future looks bright for the 23-year-old.
While his football is commendable, there’s another side to the athlete. When Super Bowl LIV kicks off, Sgt. Maj. Luis “Chino” Leiva will be in the crowd with a friend thanks to a generous donation of tickets by McCaffrey. The running back discussed how much it meant for him to give these tickets to Leiva.
“Sergeant Major Leiva started serving this country in the Marines before I was born and is still serving today, which is remarkable,” McCaffrey said, according to ABC 11. “I am thankful to be able to team up with USAA and the MCA&F to award a trip to the Super Bowl to Sergeant Major Leiva and am looking forward to personally thanking him for his continued service when we meet at the Super Bowl.”
Leiva has spent 30 years with the Marine Corps. He’s served in Iraq, Afghanistan, South Korea, and Japan.
McCaffrey’s continued kindness
McCaffrey isn’t just doing this for publicity. Good deeds seem to be built into his DNA. During the 2019 offseason, he invited Peyton Raper, an 11-year-old battling cancer, to an offseason training session via his work with Make-A-Wish. McCaffrey ensured that Raper had a great time. He claimed Raper’s presence inspired not only himself, but his teammates.
“He’s got all the intangibles,” McCaffrey said, according to Panthers.com. “Obviously with what he’s gone through, it really puts it in perspective. It makes you really want to go out there and work hard for guys like that… He brought a lot to us today — his energy, his enthusiasm — and it was a heck of a day. It really was an honor.”
McCaffrey has worked with many charities throughout his career, from Make-A-Wish to the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. The kind-hearted athlete likes to spend his time off the field improving the lives of others, and the fans respect him more for it.
Appreciating Christian McCaffrey
The NFL mediascape tends to dwell on athletes who get attention for all of the wrong reasons. From Antonio Brown’s struggles to stay out of the headlines to countless others, people love to hear when pro athletes do the wrong thing. Deeds like McCaffrey’s, however, almost always go unnoticed.
McCaffrey puts in the work to be the best he can on the field. But this does not mean he’s forgotten where he came from. From the veterans he supports to the sick kids he tries to make smile, McCaffrey proves an NFL player can be more than just a good athlete.
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