CHARLOTTE, N.C. – By most accounts, Christian McCaffrey’s preseason debut with the Panthers was a success.

The former Heisman Trophy finalist made his first appearance with the team Wednesday vs. Houston, rushing for 33 yards on seven carries. For McCaffrey, it was nice to finally get back on the field for the first time since last November, when he racked up over 200 total yards against Rice while at Stanford.

“You’ve been away from playing against another team for so long that I was extremely excited,” McCaffrey said.

With a mostly vanilla offensive approach, the Panthers utilized the rookie in multiple formations. On just his second touch, McCaffrey followed a lead blocker for 12 yards before he was taken down with only one man separating him from the end zone.

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“I felt like I could’ve made one more cut maybe and would’ve broken one,” he said. “But it is what it is. Sometimes they don’t fall your way, but I had a blast out there playing.”

Head coach Ron Rivera was complimentary of the versatile McCaffrey, saying his explosiveness was apparent from the first time he got the ball.

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“You kind of felt that he just might pop one,” Rivera said. “He’s a great change-up to what we want to do with Jonathan (Stewart), and I think he’s going to open up some things for everybody.”