NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at San Francisco 49ers

Christian McCaffrey was traded to the San Francisco 49ers from the Carolina Panthers in October of last year and at first the news did not sit well with the running back, who said his "first emotion [was] probably anger." Now that he has spent some time on the Levi's Stadium field and can look back with a new perspective, he believes it was the right move for him.

"In hindsight, I firmly believe it's the best thing that ever happened to me," McCaffrey said, via Cam Inman of The Mercury News.

McCaffrey advanced further in the playoffs in just a few months with the Niners -- who made the NFC Championship game -- than he ever did with the Panthers since being drafted by them in 2017. On top of the success of the season, he also feels the camaraderie and environment of the team was another major benefit of joining the Niners.

"I say this with the utmost respect. This is a family. It's the first time I felt like, even alumni, just getting to know these guys, it's special, it's different, and there's a reason it's sustainable and has been for so long," the 26-year-old said. "The word I would use now is, just very proud to be a part of this organization."

Head coach Kyle Shanahan is also happy to have CMC in San Francisco and says having him on the field automatically makes life difficult on the opposing defense. 

"It makes it easier. It calms your mind a little bit. You don't have to make as much stuff up," Shanahan said. "Everyone is, 'Oh you got him now. How creative are you going to be?' It's like, um, you don't have to be as creative ... The defense has got to help the guy guarding him. That's where it gets cool. That's what I love so much about Christian."

After feeling "pissed off" -- and saying, "Like, you guys don't want me anymore? That's really what it is. You can call it what it is. 'Well, they got a lot for you.' Nah, like you think you're better off without me; that's what it is" -- McCaffrey can look back with no regrets on joining the team his family has a close connection with. 

McCaffrey's ties with the 49ers goes back to 1994 when his father Ed won a Super Bowl with the team, the last 49ers squad to hoist a Lombardi Trophy. The 2023 49ers are currently tied with the defending NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles for the second-best odds to win Super Bowl LVIII (+750), according to Caesars Sportsbook.