Newly Acquired Running Back Logs First Practice With 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers got their first look at their shiny new toy Friday afternoon. Despite his trade only being announced Thursday night, former Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey was on the field for the 49ers' Friday practice. McCaffrey flew out of Carolina Friday morning and headed straight to the 49ers' facilities. Though head coach Kyle Shanahan expressed uncertainty regarding McCaffrey's availability for Sunday's matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs, a Friday practice is a great start.

McCaffrey's ability to contribute Sunday will come down to how quickly he can acclimate to a new system and culture in San Francisco. The 49ers sacrificed a treasure trove of future assets to acquire the 26-year-old back, so they'll want him to start paying off sooner than later, but not at the expense of his long-term viability. McCaffrey has missed 23 games since 2020, so putting him at unnecessary risk could be tantamount to self-sabotage.

Should McCaffrey actually be ready to go on Sunday, he'll face a Chiefs team that has allowed the fourth-fewest rushing yards in the league and the sixth-best rushing yards per attempt allowed average. But the ground game is only one component of McCaffrey's value. The running back is one of the league's best receivers out of the backfield, and the Chiefs have allowed the sixth-most passing yards in the league.

If McCaffrey sits out, he'll face the Los Angeles Rams yet again in Week 8. McCaffrey is fresh off a season-high 158 yards from scrimmage from when the Panthers faced the Rams in Week 6. He averaged a deadly 7.9 yards per touch on 13 carries and seven receptions. 
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