With those words on Thursday Victor Cruz let everyone know that he expects to make his long-awaited return to football for the New York Giants Saturday when they face the New York Jets in a preseason game at MetLife Stadium.
How many days will it have been since we have seen Cruz in action? He didn’t know, just saying that it “feels like a long time.”
The answer, incidentally, is 684. When he takes the field Saturday it will have been 653 days since he crumpled to the ground in Philadelphia with a torn patella tendon. He missed last season after suffering a calf injury in training camp.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Cruz said. “Had a good week of practice, everything feels great, so I’m just excited.
“I feel like a rookie again. There will be butterflies, there will be anxiety. There has been for some time now.”
While Saturday will be just a preseason game for his teammates, Cruz admitted it will be much more than that for him.
“This one is crossing so many hurdles, so many barriers, so many ups and downs that I had to face to get to this moment,” he said. “Now I’m just ready to relax and just go play some football again. To me this game is bigger than just a game.”
Cruz hoped to make his debut earlier in the preseason, but a groin injury forced him out of action for two weeks. He admitted a “tremendous exhale” when he got through full practices Tuesday and Wednesday without any issues.
“He got through a good practice on our Wednesday practice on Tuesday. Yesterday he got through a three-hour practice in good shape,” said coach Ben McAdoo. “when he first got out here this week, he showed a burst and showed some acceleration, he can put his foot in the ground. He had a really nice release on a slant, which reminded me of the Houston game a few years ago, so it is encouraging.”
The Giants will do a tremendous exhale of their own if they see signs of the Cruz of old on Saturday.