Turner believes Super Bowl fumble still weighs ‘heavy’ on CMC


By Jennifer Lee Chan

SANTA CLARA — Most 49ers players and staff finally have closed the door on their heartbreaking Super Bowl loss, but mistakes during that championship game never will be forgotten.

That includes Christian McCaffrey’s game-altering fumble that ended the offense’s first drive of the 49ers’ 25-22 overtime loss.

Running backs coach Bobby Turner appreciates the All-Pro striving for perfection in all aspects of the game, but he also understands how a game-changing turnover could affect McCaffrey’s mentality if the ball carrier let the mistake weigh on his mind.

“I talked to him at the same time it happened when he came off the football field because you have to,” Turner said. “You have to be able to let it go, but it’s one of those things you take personally because it’s very important to him. The ball is everything. He is carrying this whole organization — his family, my family. He is carrying that football. It’s heavy.”

Ball security and avoiding turnovers are so important that the 49ers coaching staff actually holds “ball meetings” that have been orchestrated by newly named defensive coordinator Nick Sorensen since his arrival in 2022. Turner is an advocate for the importance of the meetings and even has his own method for giving the highest value to the football.

Turner believes Super Bowl fumble still weighs ‘heavy’ on CMC originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

“I always talk about how much it weighs, how long it is, the nickname on it, ‘The Duke,’ ” Turner said. “You’re carrying ‘The Duke’ around. [McCaffrey] takes a lot of pride in that. Every time he touches the ball, he is trying to protect it, and unfortunately, that happened.”

McCaffrey has yet to report to Santa Clara for the voluntary portion of the offseason program, but when he does, Turner knows the 2017 first-round draft pick will be ready to roll. McCaffrey showed his overwhelming need to improve when he had his first full offseason with the 49ers in 2023.

“He was here every day last year from Day 1 and he was constantly in my office, or we were texting or talking to each other,” Turner said.

No doubt that the 2023 NFL Offensive Player of the Year will be back in his position coach’s office again in 2024 with the goal of having another shot at bringing home a Lombardi Trophy and avenging his past mistakes.