Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey and his father, Ed, went out of their way to make this Father's Day special for a military family. The McCaffrey duo partnered with USAA to surprise a Marine and his daughter -- who decided to serve because of her father. Christian has quickly become a fan favorite in the NFL, as the Stanford product earned First-Team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors after racking up over 1,000 yards both on the ground and through the air to go along with 19 total touchdowns in 2019. Ed played in the NFL in the 1990s and early 2000s, and was a part of three Super Bowl championship teams (two with the Broncos, one with the 49ers) during his 13 years in the league.
Gunnery Sergeant Jeremy C. is active-duty with the United States Marine Corps and has 16 years of service. He also is a huge fan of Christian and a supporter of the Panthers. Earlier this week, Jeremy was on a virtual call with his daughter by his side when the McCaffreys suddenly popped in.
Dads and father figures play such a huge role in the paths we choose. Great to work with @USAA and the @USOofNC to surprise a @Marine and his daughter – who also chose to serve - for #FathersDay. Thanks to all those who guide and inspire us. #SaluteToService pic.twitter.com/0AaLP8z1ub— Christian McCaffrey (@CMC_22) June 17, 2020
Like football, military service appears to run in the family, as 80 percent of military recruits come from families where at least one family member has served. One in four have a parent who has served. Sergeant Jeremy's daughter, Ella R., is a Senior Airman and active-duty with the United States Air Force. Much like with Christian, she wanted to follow in her father's footsteps.
"For me, I realized when I turned 18, it was time to be an adult," said Ella. "We have a really good life as a military family, why not just keep it going?"
Christian realized early on that he wanted to be an NFL player just like his dad, and he is thankful for both how he was brought up and also how supportive his father had been throughout his younger years.
"To me, Father's Day is a special day," Christian said. "I always wanted to be like my dad and I just remember going to the games and hanging out with some of his teammates and you know, just kind of having a blast in the locker room. Those are days I'll never forget."
Earlier this offseason, the Panthers reset the running back market by signing Christian to a four-year deal worth $16 million per season. Over his three short years in the NFL, Christian has proven that he is just as, if not more, dangerous as a pass catcher than as a traditional ball-carrier, as he broke the NFL record for receptions by a running back in back-to-back seasons. While he plays running back, there's no doubt that Christian inherited some of his talent as a receiver from his father.