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Mile High Morning: Christian McCaffrey nearing first game against his dad's old team

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The Lead

On Sunday, a McCaffrey may suit up for a Broncos game for the first time since 2003.

If he's healthy enough, Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey — son of Ed, the former Broncos standout receiver who helped Denver win two Super Bowls — will play his first career game against his dad's old team.

"It's just cool to see different generations go through the NFL," McCaffrey said Monday. "Pretty surreal in a way to be playing against my dad's former team, kind of make things go full circle."

Christian, who was born in 1996, experienced the Broncos' salad days like few other children, as his dad would sometimes bring him into the locker room. And those experiences and teams helped shape his love for the game, providing the foundation for the kind of person and player he is now.

"Just growing up and my dad playing for the Broncos and everything, I think that was kind of when I started to see what football meant to me, just watching him and being able to run around on the field after the game and seeing them win two Super Bowls, even when I was 2 or 3 years old," Christian said. "I know my dad loved football and watching highlights of him is very special to me and the rest of our family, just seeing how he played. I think he definitely did the Broncos organization right and watching those teams play back in the day, I'd say the same for all those guys. They made it fun to watch. They made it fun growing up as a kid.

"Every single one of those guys in the locker room were always so nice to myself and my brothers. Definitely a lot of cool memories."

After this game, should he play in it, Christian will have just one milestone left to hit in regards to his dad's former team: a homecoming at Empower Field at Mile High. If that is to happen (which would be a few years down the line given the NFL's current inter-conference scheduling structure), Christian said he hopes that maybe his dad's name will be in the Ring of Fame by that time.

"That would be amazing," Christian said. "I think it's very well deserved, and I think that would be a very proud moment for him. Even just hearing [the possibility asked about] is pretty cool. That'd be awesome for our family. And it is crazy. I've played in that stadium, like you said, four times. I've been there a lot. I don't know when it will be but whenever I do get to play there, it will be once again a pretty surreal moment."

Below the Fold

Paul Howard, one of the longest-tenured players in Broncos history died recently at the age of 70. The former Broncos lineman was selected to the Broncos Top 100 Team in 2019. To remember his life and career, we spoke with former teammate Billy Thompson and relived some memories from Broncos Team Historian Jim Saccomano.

Why did the Broncos have so much success in the red zone against one of the league's most high-powered offenses? The Athletic's Nick Kosmider posits that it was Denver's dutiful commitment at each level: "In tight quarters, where Denver's lack of speed relative to Kansas City's offense was less of a detriment, it was the Broncos' strict adherence to assignments that won out. The Broncos were disciplined in not letting Hill get the edge on two separate plays inside the 10-yard line. They more or less kept Mahomes from extending plays once the Chiefs got in close."

The Unclassifieds

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