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‘Madden NFL 25’ cover reveal: Christian McCaffrey becomes first 49ers star to be featured in 25 years

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EA Sports

Christian McCaffrey reset the running back market with a record contract extension this offseason. Now, the San Francisco 49ers star has added another historic notch to his belt: “Madden” cover athlete.

EA Sports announced Tuesday that McCaffrey, the reigning Offensive Player of the Year, will be the featured star of “Madden NFL 25,” becoming the first 49ers player to grace the game’s cover in more than 25 years. McCaffrey will also be the first running back to appear on the “Madden” cover in more than a decade.

Not since Garrison Hearst, the former Bay Area All-Pro and Comeback Player of the Year, had a 49ers standout landed on the cover of the annual NFL video game; Hearst appeared on “Madden NFL 99,” released in 1998, alongside the late John Madden. Prior to McCaffrey, meanwhile, the last running backs to appear on the cover were Detroit Lions great Barry Sanders and former Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson, who shared the honor in 2013 for the 25th anniversary of “Madden.”

One of the contemporary faces of the 49ers, McCaffrey was a catalyst for San Francisco’s journey to Super Bowl LVIII in 2023, leading the NFL with a career-high 1,459 rushing yards and 2,2023 yards from scrimmage. He also scored 21 total touchdowns, earning his third career Pro Bowl nod one year after helping San Francisco advance to a separate NFC Championship.

The 28-year-old McCaffrey spent the first five and a half seasons of his NFL career with the Carolina Panthers, who drafted him No. 8 overall out of Stanford in 2017. He twice topped 100 receptions as a pass-catching threat in Carolina, logging a career-high 1,005 receiving yards in 2019. His new contract with the 49ers makes him the game’s highest-paid player at his position, averaging $19 million per year.

Prior to McCaffrey’s announcement as this year’s “Madden” star, some fans had predicted Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow as the 2025 selection. Four of the last five covers had featured quarterbacks, with the sole exception highlighting Madden himself.

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