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Carolina Panthers

Christian McCaffrey training camp Q&A


On the way he carries himself:"For me, anytime I'm on the football field, that's kind of my comfort zone. That is where I feel comfortable. Guys like Greg and all of the veterans here have been so great to me, helping me learn all of the plays, getting in touch with everything and making sure everything is okay in the huddle. I can't thank those guys enough, but I would definitely say the football field is my safe place."

On Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart saying no one could guard McCaffrey 1-on-1:"I hope not. That is high praise from an unbelievable player who has done a lot for me helping me learn and a guy I can look up to and watch every day so I really appreciate him saying that."

On how he sets tacklers up to elude them:"I don't know, I think it just came naturally. I think a lot of it had to do with playing in the backyard with my brothers all the time. We had a little grass patch. So there wasn't a lot of space to work with so I had to find different ways to make my older brother miss. I think growing up playing multiple sports too. Playing basketball – a lot of that quickness and setting people up and being able to jab one way and go the other, exploding off of that first step – that's where I did a lot of that stuff too."

On shaking Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly in previous practice:"It was a good feeling. Anytime you can make a great play against a great player is a good feeling but that is one guy you can't get comfortable if you make a play on him because he will come back the next play and is known to make a ton of plays on his side as well. It's one of those things where you make a play and then have to come back in the huddle and get ready for the next one. Against our defense, you're always going to have to work for what you get."

On advice he received from his dad and brother for training camp:"The biggest advice they gave me was just to be me and have fun with it. That is really what I am trying to do. We're a week in. I am being me and having a lot of fun."

On talking to his brother, Max, during training camp:"We talk all the time. We are always sending each other texts and FaceTime and stuff like that. That has been good having him as a shoulder to lean on."

On receiving praise from teammates:"There's a lot of support, definitely. Anytime I make a play a lot of guys are right there saying, 'Nice play.' I have a lot of support but that is how this team is. If someone makes a play, we are all there to lift each other up. And anytime I don't make a good play they are right there too, letting me know what I have to do and what I need to fix to get it right. That is a sign of a successful team, when you have veterans that are willing to help the rookies out as much as they do."

On feeling any pressure:"That is a mental thing for me. I don't really see it, anytime there is pressure. There is always pressure. There's always pressure, when you step onto a football field, to be great. That is how I look at it. But I don't feel it, I just go out there and play ball."

On signing autographs for fans:"It's been great. Coming out here, anytime you get a chance to step on the field it's a wonderful opportunity and a blessing so, the fact I get to do it for a wonderful organization means a lot. It has been great, meetings have been awesome, coach Skip helped me out a lot as well as the veteran backs. I am still learning, but it's coming a long and I am excited."

On having to showcase a talent at team meetings:"I had to sing day one of camp. I played a little piano and sang. I sang lean on me. I got solid reviews. I got claps and didn't get booed, so that was good."

On keeping his head down:"That's just how I am. It wasn't like, 'I'm just going to be like this when I come in.' I have always been this way. Just play ball and be good to people and play football as best I can to help the team win. There are a lot of veterans on this team who have been there and done that so I am all ears. In order to listen, I can't be talking, and that's how I am approaching it."

On what he does with his off-time during camp:"I am taking care of my body, doing treatments. I am out there sometimes playing cards or connect four, that's my game. A lot of times I am getting treatment, taking care of my body and getting things going for the next day."

On going back to Charlotte on the day off:"I stayed here. I took care of myself and did more film study, just so I can get ahead. There was definitely a good amount of rookies that stayed here. Some people went. There is treatment over in Charlotte too so whatever everyone did, we all enjoyed the off day."

On his skills in pass protection:"I don't know, we'll see. I hope so. I think that's something I take pride in is being able to pass protect too."

On new weapons on offense:"There are weapons all over the place. I feel like it's a team where there are a lot of opportunities all over the field. We have the weapons. It is going to come down to us executing and being able to play together, get in a rhythm, and go fast. "

On the upgrade in speed at skills positions:"Speed kills. Anytime you can add speed to an offense and guys with big play ability, it stresses a defense a little bit more. I think that's something we drafted to in the free agency too that can really help us there."

On watching the new season of Game of Thrones:"My HBO account broke, so I can't watch any of that until I get it fixed. I think I am going to wait until all of the episodes end and then binge watch them. I think that is what I am going to do. It is my mom and dad's account. I just don't have their password and I have been too lazy to text them. We have a family account, family first, so we all have it."

On if his parents are making him pay for HBO:

"Not yet, but thank you for bringing that up. We are supposed to keep that under wraps."

On Stanford wide receiver J.J. Arcega:"J.J. is an unbelievable worker with a bunch of athletic ability. I think he'll for sure be someone to look out for. I can't wait to watch Stanford and all of those guys work this year. I know they put in the work and I can't wait to watch them, those are my guys. "

On playing with quarterback Cam Newton:"It has been great. When Cam is Cam, he is at his best. You have to let him be him. That's the biggest thing about him. He is such a talented player, when he gets in a rhythm, he is hard to stop. He has been unbelievably helpful to me. His energy is very effective and you can feel it feed off on the whole team and I am really appreciative I can play next to him."

On any nickname he has from Cam:"No, he just calls me Mac."

On the fans welcoming him:"These fans are unbelievable. It gave me chills when I first came out there. I heard them cheering my name the first time I took to the practice field. That meant a lot to me that people actually do care. The fact that they come out to practice to support us, that's pretty special."

On the expectations coming into training camp:"I didn't know what to expect. I just knew I had to show up on time and learn everything as fast as possible, and from there, just play ball. That's what I've been doing. Now that we are about a week in, I can get in a rhythm now, so it's better than it was at the start because you're frantic running over this stuff quickly. But now that you're in rhythm, it's a lot easier."

On if he feels caught up after not being able to attend offseason OTAs:"Definitely. Even when I had that time off, I was calling Coach Skip every single day. We would talk for about an hour and go over what the team went over that day which was nice. It's not ideal not being there, because physical reps are a lot better, but we made the most out of it and I appreciated that Coach Skip took the time to help me out."

On his goals for his rookie season:"I have a lot of goals. I keep it personal, but there are a lot of goals."

On his weight:"I am like 205. That's pretty much what I have been at is 205."

On his fitness routines:"Are you asking me for the secrets? There are no secrets. I do a lot of stuff in the water. Contrast baths, ice to hot, stuff like that. I do specific tissue stretching, called ELDOA. When it's available, I do some stuff in the sauna too. But a lot of it is just my diet, sleep and hydration. I think the main thing, I got all of my allergy tests done and now I know what to eat, what not to eat and be on a specific plan."

On backyard football games with siblings:"It depended on the day. A lot of the time it was tackle until somebody got hurt and then we would go to touch. Next day we would play tackle again. You look back and, as a kid, you dream about being here. Looking back on that, I think that was the time of my life during those periods where it was just me and my brothers out there on the field, running around causing havoc. I pretended to be a different player every day. We would always call out who we were to start the play. There was a whole bunch of them. I was probably a different player every day. I was always Barry Sanders. That was my favorite. That's who I would always go with, Barry Sanders and Reggie Bush."

View photos from Carolina's sixth day of practice at training camp.

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