Three-time Super Bowl champion Ed McCaffrey's only previous trip to Australia came as a member of the Denver Broncos in a preseason game against the San Diego Chargers in 1999.
McCaffrey was back Down Under on Thursday to run an American football combine for media and personalities to help promote the Sydney Cup between his alma mater, Stanford University, and Rice, on Aug. 27. The game is set for the 45,500-seat Sydney Football Stadium, just minutes from downtown.
"I don't think they shattered any records," McCaffrey quipped about the media performances in the 40-yard dash.
Another Stanford grad, defensive end and recent San Francisco first-round pick Solomon Thomas, also attended Thursday's promotion.
It's the second year in a row that U.S. college teams have played Down Under — last year Cal beat Hawaii 51-31 at the Olympic stadium in the opening game of the season before 62,000 fans.
In 1999, McCaffrey's Broncos beat the Chargers 20-17 before 73,000 fans in the same stadium, a test event ahead of the 2000 Sydney Games.
McCaffrey's son, running back Christian, who also attended Stanford, was a first-round pick of the Carolina Panthers in this year's NFL draft. The former wide receiver has three other sons who play football — eldest Max is with the Green Bay Packers, quarterback Dylan will play with the University of Michigan this year, and Luke, also a quarterback, is still in high school but has eight or 10 college offers, McCaffrey says, including one from Michigan.
McCaffrey's been down that route before, chosen in the third round of the 1991 draft by the New York Giants after attending Stanford from 1986 to 1991.
"Thanks for making me making me feel old," the 48-year-old joked in a telephone interview with The Associated Press when reminded he attended Stanford, which was 12th in last year's final AP Top 25 poll, some 30 years ago.
"I was excited to play here in 1999, but it was a business trip," McCaffrey added. "I've told the guys they need to treat this game the same way.
"But I'm happy to represent American football over here, particularly when it involves two great academic institutions like Stanford and Rice. And it'll be a great, unique experience for the players. Most college kids haven't done much travel."
McCaffrey won't return to Australia for the Aug. 27 game, which will be mid-evening Saturday, Aug. 26 in the U.S. He's trying to devote as much time as he can to watching his sons play football all around the country.
In fact, for the first time in six years, the Denver-based McCaffrey said he won't be back doing radio color commentary for the Broncos. Admitting he feels "slightly guilty" after the Broncos awarded him a Super Bowl ring after their win over Carolina in 2016, he's decided family comes first.
"I guess I was lucky to have played for some wonderful teams," McCaffrey says of his two NFL titles with Denver and one with San Francisco over a 13-year career.
So now he has four Super Bowl rings, and he's mentioned to his sons that he has one for each of them.
"They say that's fine and dandy, but we kind of want one of our own," McCaffrey said.
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