Christian McCaffrey is a Heisman trophy finalist, a standout running back and (probably) a future NFL star. He’s also a bit of a football legacy.
The Stanford star, whose stats this season have quickly become the stuff of Cardinals legend, is the son of former Pro Bowl wide receiver Ed McCaffrey.
No wonder Christian was able to rack up the yardage this fall. He was simply following in his father’s footsteps. Here’s everything you need to know about the 13-year NFL player:
1. McCaffrey Was Selected in the Third Round of the 1991 Draft by the New York Giants
After wrapping up his career at Stanford by being named an All-American in 1990, Ed McCaffrey was drafted by the New York Giants in the third round of the 1991 NFL Draft.
Coming into training camp with the nickname “Easy Ed,” McCaffrey struggled to break into the lineup with Big Blue, the defending Super Bowl champs at the time.
“It doesn’t bother me,” McCaffrey told media in September 1991. “I got a lot of attention in college, so I’m accustomed to it.”
Despite a major reputation as a rookie, fresh off a college season that ended with 917 yards and eight touchdowns, McCaffrey struggled to get up to speed during camp. He missed four days of rookie mini-camp due to exams and then missed several early days of training camp as the details of his contract were ironed out.
McCaffrey spent three seasons with the Giants, appearing in 16 games and starting in four. He hauled in 92 receptions for 1,091 yards and seven touchdowns.
2. He Set a Broncos Team Record for Most Receptions in a Season
McCaffrey went on to play just one season with the San Francisco 49ers in 1994 before finding his professional footing with the Denver Broncos.
He became a consistent target for Broncos quarter John Elway during his time in Denver and set a team record for most receptions in a single-season, hauling in 101 passes in 2000. McCaffrey also performed well in Super Bowl XXXIII, recording five catches for 72 yards.
It all came to a crashing halt, however, when, on September 10, 2001, McCaffrey suffered a compound leg fracture while playing against the Giants on Monday Night Football. Still, McCaffrey fought to battle back and returned to the Broncos roster in the 2002 season before retiring on February 29, 2004.
McCaffrey finished his 13-year career with 565 receptions for 7,422 yards and 55 touchdowns, three Super Bowl rings and one Pro Bowl appearance.
3. McCaffrey Coached Youth Football After His Pro Career & Founded His Own Sports Camp
After his NFL career ended, McCaffrey turned his attention to the next generation of gridiron stars. He first started coaching youth football camps while still in the league in 2000, but turned his attention to that full-time in 2011 when he founded SportsEddy.
The camps don’t only focus on football, but also offer lacrosse, soccer, baseball and basketball. The camps help kids from 8 to 15 years old develop their athletic and life skills and often bring in some of the biggest names in pro sports. McCaffrey described the Colorado-based camps on his site, writing:
After 13 fantastic years in the NFL, I’ve created these youth sports camps as my way of reaching out and giving back to kids, to the sport I love and to the community. I’ve found so much value in sports, not just for physical fitness but for molding character and developing the qualities that will make you a winner at everything in life. Nothing is more rewarding to me than helping kids learn a lifetime love of sports and helping them reach their goals.
In addition to the camps, McCaffrey also hosts the “Dare to Play” football camp and “Dare to Cheer” cheerleading camp each year, bringing together individuals with Down syndrome on the field in a partnership with the Global Down Syndrome Foundation.
4. He Met His Wife Lisa While They Both Attended Stanford
McCaffrey first met his wife Lisa while they were both attending Stanford University. Together, the pair have added to a long line of athletic talent.
Lisa was a force on the soccer field during high school, so dominant at putting the ball in the back of the net that she ended up in Sports Illustrated‘s “Faces in the Crowd.” Meanwhile, her father, David Sime, was a star at Duke before going on to win the silver medal in the 100 meters at the 1960 Olympics. He went on to own six different world records from 1956 to ’66.
Lisa added to her own athletic legacy at Stanford, joining the women’s soccer team as a starter for three seasons before rupturing two discs in her lower back.
Aside from Christian, the McCaffreys are parents to three other sons. Max played college football at Duke, while Dylan is one of the top quarterback prospects in the country and Luke is waiting in the wings at Valor Christian High School.
5. McCaffrey Also Runs His Own Charitable Foundation
In addition to operating his sporting camps, selling his own brand of mustard and horseradish sauce and serving as the color analyst for the Denver Broncos Radio Network, McCaffrey also founded his own charity, the McCaffrey Family Foundation.
The foundation, which McCaffrey founded with his wife Lisa, works to improve the lives of children, particularly in the state of Colorado, both with high-cost medical situations and academic opportunities. The foundation also works in conjunction with a handful of other organizations throughout Colorado, including the Ronald McDonald House, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless and Denver Children’s Hospital.