LONDON – Surreal.
That’s the word running back Christian McCaffrey used to describe his first London experience so far.
“It’s been a lot of fun. Definitely a cool experience,” McCaffrey said after practicing Friday at Harrow School. “This is the most amazing school I’ve ever seen in my life. Nine-hole golf course over here. It looks like Hogwarts – that’s the first thing I thought. It’s pretty unbelievable.”
Speaking of unbelievable, the topic of discussion eventually turned to McCaffrey’s back injury, which he suffered when he landed on that touchdown flip against the Jaguars.
“I landed on my back pretty hard, but I feel fine,” McCaffrey said. “I could have practiced yesterday, could have practiced the day after the game. Feeling really good, so yeah.”
All the fuss about his back had McCaffrey shaking his head a bit. But when you’re a star running back playing at an MVP level, this is what happens.
“I get it,” McCaffrey said.
The players have all been asked about their plans for sightseeing, but McCaffrey said he’ll be laying low.
“We’re here on a business trip to win a game,” McCaffrey said. “For me, it’s just about getting ready.”
But part of what’s been surreal for McCaffrey is all the locals who have recognized him.
As a kid growing up, he dreamed of being an NFL star. Having fans ask for a picture in London helps put that in perspective.
“Pretty surreal experience to see the impact football has had globally. I’ve really enjoyed my time,” McCaffrey said.
And he’s hoping the Panthers fans who made the effort to travel across the pond enjoy their time as well, particularly on Sunday at Tottenham Stadium.
“It’s pretty outstanding that people flew to Europe just to watch us play,” McCaffrey said. “I know we’re extremely appreciative of all the Panthers fans who traveled and all the Panthers fans here.
“Our guys are focused and ready to go out there and get a win.”
To get that win, the Panthers are likely going to need to run the ball better than they did in the first meeting against Tampa Bay.
McCaffrey was limited to 37 rush yards on 16 carries, by far his lowest output of the year. The Buccaneers have been very stingy against the run through the first five games, allowing a league-best 3.12 yards per attempt.
"We just have to be efficient," McCaffrey said. "There is not some secret formula, it comes down to completing passes, being efficient on first and second down and making plays when the ball is in your hands. It’s a huge effort going against a run defense like this and it’s really important to trust your technique, trust your eyes, trust your gaps."
View photos from Friday's practice at the Harrow School in London.