Carolina Panthers activate RB Christian McCaffrey for Kansas City Chiefs game

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CHARLOTTE, NC – The Carolina Panthers activated injured reserve running back Christian McCaffrey on Saturday to make him eligible for Sunday’s game in Kansas City.The move is not surprising as coach Matt Rhule said Friday McCaffrey needs to be activated for the first time since suffering a sprained ankle in a Week 2 loss to Tampa Bay.

Rhule wanted to make sure there wouldn’t be a setback on Saturday when the Panthers (3-5) held their final practice before going to face the Chiefs, reigning Super Bowl champions (7-1).

While most teams have a light guided tour on Saturdays, Rhule subjects his players to full practice.

Rhule said the amount of McCaffrey used depends on back and weather conditions. The forecast is for sunny skies with temperatures in the 70’s.

The concern is overloading McCaffrey, who has missed six games, by playing him too many consecutive games. So don’t look for him to be on the pitch for 97% of the games like he was in the opener – or even 93% like he was all last season.

The Panthers enter the game with McCaffrey expected to share the load with Mike Davis, who ran for 350 yards and two touchdowns and caught 38 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns.

But as Rhule noted earlier in the week when discussing what McCaffrey brings that Davis doesn’t, is that “Christian is an elite player” that creates an elite production.

In 2019, McCaffrey became the third player in NFL history to have 1,000 rushing and receiving yards in the same season.

“He’s one of the best in the National Football League,” Rhule said. “Like any great player, you feel better about your chances when he’s there than when he’s not. “

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