It has seemed inevitable for weeks that Victor Cruz had played his last game with the New York Giants. That has become reality Monday, with the Giants releasing the 30-year-old wide receiver.
“Victor is one of the great stories of the National Football League,” general manager Jerry Reese said in a statement from the team. “He came in here and earned everything that he’s gotten. It has been amazing to see him grow from an undrafted free agent to a Pro Bowl player and one of our go-to guys during the Super Bowl XLVI run. He will always be one of the great Giants.”
Cruz carried a $9.4 million salary cap hit for the 2017 season. The Giants will save $7.5 million against the cap with the release.
Cruz, 30, has been a Giant since making the team an an undrafted free agent in 2010. He salsa-danced hi way into the hearts of Giants’ fans while setting a franchise record in 2011 with 1,536 receiving yards. Cruz had 1,092 receiving yards in 2012 and 998 in 2013, when he missed the final two games with a knee injury.
Cruz missed 26 games over the 2014 and 2015 seasons, though, first with a torn patellar tendon and then with calf surgery. He returned in 2016 and caught 39 passes for 586 yards in 15 games. He wasn’t the explosive player he had been, and instead of being the star he was the third option in the passing attack.
“It’s been an amazing journey,” Cruz said. “I pretty much grew up in front of the eyes of this entire organization. The Giants fan base, the community, my hometown, my family. I grew up there. It’s very much a family atmosphere and it’s very much like leaving your family. That’s what it feels like. I did some great things there. There are so many experiences, times and moments that I shared in that building with that team in that jersey. Those can’t be replaced or forgotten. I’m happy I have those moments to look back on.”
Cruz told Big Blue View’s Brandon Estrict recently that “I want to stay in blue. I want to be in blue.”
That, however, is not going to happen. He ended his Giants’ career with 303 receptions, 10th in Giants history.
“I think I have a lot of good football left ahead of me,” Cruz said. “I think there is still a lot of miles left on this body. I’ll definitely be searching and looking for work as the time comes.”
Sad day for football. Victor Cruz is no longer a Giant. Hope he lands somewhere. The salsa must live on! pic.twitter.com/29a2E4Ob8z— Aaron Dodson (@aardodson) February 13, 2017
Here is a thank you from Cruz.