Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey trusts God's plan after high-ankle sprain

The Carolina Panthers will be without running back Christian McCaffrey for multiple weeks thanks to a high-ankle sprain he suffered during a 31-17 defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

>> Subscribe to Sports Spectrum Magazine for more stories where sports and faith connect <<

The timeline McCaffrey was given after the injury was four to six weeks. The superstar vows to return sooner than that.

“They say four to six weeks, well, that’s a challenge to me,” McCaffrey said in a news conference Monday. “Hopefully I can get back a lot earlier than that, but I’m gonna attack this.”

The No. 8 overall pick out of Stanford in 2017 took to Instagram this week to share his thoughts about the rash of injuries to star players in Week 2 and the faith in God that sustains him during trying times.

“It’s easy to have faith when everything is going well. But a true soldier has faith in times of adversity. Tough times don’t last, tough people do,” McCaffrey’s post said. “I pray for all of the guys who suffered injuries across the league for speedy recoveries, and I want to send my prayers and condolences to [James White] and his family during this tragic time.”

White’s father passed away in a car accident on Sunday, while his mother was in critical condition.

McCaffrey’s trust in God’s plan stems from a belief that his life is about more than just his sport. In 2016 while starring at Stanford, McCaffrey talked about his faith as part of an article for The Player’s Tribune.

“When you see me take the field, know that I’m playing for more than just football. I have a strong faith in God,” McCaffrey wrote. “I don’t think He’s looking down on me and hoping that I score touchdowns. Nah, He just wants to see that I did my absolute best on that particular day.”

McCaffrey often displays his faith on the field as well. He says he has a typical TD celebration: “I beat my chest five times and I point up to God.” And he’s often seen praying before games.

McCaffrey also turned to prayer in an emergency situation back in 2018, when he helped save a man while on a hiking trip near where he grew up in Castle Rock, Colo.

Now in his fourth season with Carolina, McCaffrey was a first-team All-Pro and a first-time Pro Bowler last year after posting 1,387 rushing yards with 15 touchdowns and 1,005 receiving yards on 116 receptions (an NFL record for running backs). It was McCaffrey’s second consecutive season eclipsing 1,000 yards on the ground.

In 2020, McCaffrey had amassed four rushing touchdowns during the first two weeks before his injury.

With McCaffrey out, the 0-2 Panthers will turn to journeyman Mike Davis to fill the new hole at running back. Carolina travels to play the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET.

RELATED STORIES:
Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey sets NFL RB reception record
Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey helps save man on hiking trip
Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey playing for more than just football
New Carolina HC Matt Rhule brings energy, faith to locker room
NEW PODCAST: Chris Canty – former NFL defensive lineman