Victor Cruz Post-injury media interview

Victor Cruz spoke with reporters via conference call for the first time since tearing his patellar tendon and shared his thoughts on the injury, the rehab process and what kind of impact he plans on having on teammates despite being sidelined for the remainder of the season.

Q: Obviously we saw your statement last night. How are you feeling now? For the next couple days, what is your mindset in terms of where you’re at and where you need to go?

A: I feel good. Surgery went well, which is something I was excited about, knowing that there was nothing else damaged or nothing else was wrong with my surgery. I’m excited about the rehab process and getting back to my old self, my normal self. The next couple days I just want to continue to go in there and get my rehab, continue to be a voice in the locker room with my peers, with my teammates and just continue to be a good teammate. Even though I’m not physically out on the field I still want to be able to talk to those guys and make sure I continue to be a voice. I’m headed in the right direction.

Q: Have you spoken with Coach Coughlin about that and a specific role that you can play even though you can’t be on the field?

A: I spoke to Coach Coughlin but I didn’t speak to him in depth yet. There are definitely things that I can do individually that I’m going to do like pop up in the locker room, pop up in the receiver meeting rooms. I’m on text message with all of my receivers and a lot of my teammates already so just continuing to do that, continuing to be a voice for them. Good, bad, whatever they feel they can talk to me about it and just continuing that trend. I did something special for them for the Saturday night meeting in Dallas so we’ll see how that goes.

Q: We got the sense from Odell Beckham that he’s kind of playing for you in your honor. Do you get the sense from your teammates, that they want to play for you?

A: Yeah, I do and it’s humbling to say the least. A lot of the guys are telling me when they get in the end zone they’re going to do the salsa for me and stuff like that. It’s pretty humbling for sure. It’s just something that shows me what type of impact I’ve had on my teammates, on the team. It just feels good, man, it feels good to know that those guys are on my side and they’re rooting for me to come back stronger and in the meantime, they’re going to hold down the fort.

Q: What have they told you about the rehab? How long is it going to take? What are your chances for coming back from this?

A: They said my chances of coming back are very high. Obviously there are a couple teammates that I’ve had on this team that have had this surgery and they’ve come back better than ever and are playing great football right now. They just told me I’d be in a brace for about six weeks and then just to begin the rehab process, it could go from anywhere from four to eight months for a full recovery so I’m just excited for the process, excited for the challenge every day, challenge myself every day to get better and do things better until I’m 100 percent again.

Q: How much of the first couple days of this, obviously the emotional impact but for you, this isn’t an injury that’s very common in the NFL. How much of it did you have to research and really rely on what the doctors were telling you? I would imagine the uncertainty kind of added to that emotional component earlier this week.

A: Yeah, I mean, especially initially when it happened I didn’t know what it was, I didn’t know if every ligament in my knee was gone or just one. I just didn’t know so I wanted to do some research, I wanted to see what the x-rays and MRI said so I definitely did a lot of research on it. I know it’s something I can come back from that people have come back from and that it’s something that’s going to be a very tedious injury as far as the rehab, a lot of little things that I have to be patient with but, the uncertainty was definitely something that was a little bothersome at first until I finally got diagnosed and I knew exactly what it was.

Q: Have you spoken to anybody that went through it and if so, which guys and what kind of advice did you get?

A: I spoke to Zack Bowman as well as Marcus Harris who had it, I believe he was in high school when he had his. They just told me to be patient. It’s something that you can come back from, it’s something that if you strengthen it properly and you do the due diligence as far as the rehab is concerned you can come back strong, you can come back faster and you won’t even think about it come a couple months down the road. You’ll be playing and not even thinking about anything below your knee cap. I’m excited for that and they just reassured me that this is something that I can come back from and it’s something that won’t hinder my abilities moving forward as well.

Q: Will you be doing your rehab at the facility or are you going off and doing it with someone else?

A: I’ll be doing all of my rehab at the facility at least for the next two, three months. Once I’m off the crutches and able to kind of walk on my own a little bit, I’ll still be doing stuff at the facility but I’ll be going to see my trainer as well and doing some little things with him also.

Q: On the play in which you were hurt it looked like you jumped and then all of a sudden all hell broke loose. What happened physically?

A: It was just… I went into my route and then I turned and I went to locate the ball and then as soon as I went to make a play on the ball, before I even jumped, I just felt it pop. I just felt something pop in my knee and then, not even knowing where the ball was, I kind of just went up, barely went up and then I immediately grabbed for my knee on the way down and I just grabbed from my knee. I felt the pop, which is something I never felt before in my life. I knew something was wrong and I immediately went down and grabbed it.

Q: Was there anything before that that, in retrospect, you look back and say, ‘Hey, I kind of felt a little weird before hand,’ or anything before that or was it just at that moment?

A: It was just at that moment. A couple of my teammates were saying the play before it looked like I landed a little awkwardly but I didn’t feel anything from that play, I didn’t feel anything at all. I got up and went on to the next play and then it just happened so I don’t know where it came from, if it was just something that happened that day, something that’s been building up. I’m not sure but I didn’t feel anything prior to the injury.

Q: Have you seen the play [of your injury] or is it something you’d rather not ever have to watch?

Q: What does your event next week in Manhattan mean to you and your foundation and I guess it speaks to you continuing to go through with it how important it is to you?

A: It is important to me because of the kids. It is about the kids. It is about showing them that we can do anything as long as you put your mind to it no matter what setbacks you have in life you can still move forward and still push forward. I think it is about the kids and continuing to show them that it is not all about the glitz and the glam when things are going well or you want to be praised or you want things to happen in the right direction, but you want to give back even when you are not doing well. Even when you are down in the dumps and things aren’t going in your direction you want to show them that you can still be in positon to give back and be in the position to do the right thing. I think that is the biggest message I want to get across. First I was contemplating doing [the event], but I know it was about more than just me. It is bigger than just Victor Cruz. It is bigger than football. It is bigger than just the Giants. It is about these kids having someone that they can look up to and emulate and know that they can emulate me not just when they are scoring touchdowns and doing all the good things, but even when they are down in the dumps they are go on their way and they can understand that there is a positivity that comes along with that.

Q: Did you reach out to your teammates as a group or have you reached out individually?

A: I haven’t spoken to them as a group. I will in a special way on Saturday night. They don’t know it yet. They will be getting a message from me on Saturday night about motivation and staying strong and continuing to move forward with the season and with the things they have to do as a team. Accomplishing team goals and even with some setbacks and the injuries on our team and just little things like that. They will be getting a message from me. I have spoken throughout the week being in the facility I have spoken to a lot of them and showed them that I am smiling and am in good spirits and that I am continuing to be the same person I am even though I am fighting through this rehab period right now.

Q: Tom Coughlin said that if anybody can overcome this injury, or overcome adversity, is you. Is there any doubt in your mind?

A: No, I don’t have any doubt in my mind. I don’t have any doubt that I will be back, I don’t have any doubt that my rehab process will be successful. I will be in tip-top shape and ready to go when the time is right. I don’t have any doubt in my mind, I never been bred that way, I never just believed in doubt. I always believed in whatever I can put my mind to, whatever God has enabled me to do, or whatever he has planned for me is going to happen. I think that is what fuels me, I don’t have any doubt that I will come back from this injury in a positive way.

Q: Do you prepare a video for your guys tomorrow night or are going to skype it? How do you get the message to them?

A: There is going to be a small video, and I think they will see it. Understand it and I think it's going to be good for them. It was good for me to get it off of my chest, and I think it is going to be good for them to kind of receive it, and I hope they get a positive message out of it.

Q: Was it your idea? Was it coaches’ idea? How did that come about?

A: It was kind of myself and one of the video guys idea (Edward Triggs III). He came up to me and asked if I wanted to do it, and I said absolutely. I started to come up with different ideas, things to say to kind of get them motivated, and it was just him and I. We got it done and I think it should be good.

Q: You said they told you 4-8 months. Do you take that to believe by the time you start getting ready and training camp starts next year that you are going to be back to being to what you been being?

A: Absolutely, that is my goal. Even before that I want to be able to start training properly, start training my body properly, for training camp and I will think I will definitely be ready by then. I think I will be ready to do all of the good things to continue to be my old self come training camp next year and we will see how it goes. Obviously, we will take it day by day, that is definitely my goal. Hopefully even by OTA’s and things like that to start getting out there on that field…and see how this thing feels. We will see how it goes.

Q: Do you have any worries, or have you reach out directly to Odell Beckham Jr.? The other day he mentioned that particularly because it was you and you had looked after him since day one.

A: I texted him a couple times since it has happened. I just told him to stay focused keep his head on straight, I might not be there physically, but I am there spiritually and mentally. I am still talking those guys, I still talk to him and everyone in our receiver room. It is something I wanted him to know, but I am still there, I am still there whenever he needs someone to talk to. I am still here if he wants to talk about anything, I am that guy that continues to be on his side, and continues to be someone he looks up to, continue to be someone he can talk to no matter what happens. I know it is difficult for him because we have become so close these last couple of months so I know how difficult it could be but I am definitely still there for him every day.

Q: I’m sure you get a lot of support from people around the league and stuff. What was that like? Did you hear from Eagles players in specific as well?

A: Yeah, it was amazing. It was overwhelming almost to see how many people reached out, how many people have sent things to my home, how many people have just sent their regards, sent me text messages, emails and just to know the kind of affect I have on people. Chip Kelly came to visit me in the hospital in Philadelphia after the game. Just to know that things like that, the way I carry myself and the way I play the game fuels people and gets them excited and have them think about me that much more to come visit me and make sure I’m okay. It’s just overwhelming and it’s a great feeling.

Q: When did Chip Kelly come? That night of the next day?

A: I believe it was the next morning.

Q: You’re clearly not a guy who likes to sit at home and stay behind the scenes. You’ve obviously made your plays in the community. How important is it to you, I know you mentioned the event next week but how important is it for you to continue to be that presence out there despite some of the limitations that you might have physically?

A: It’s important for me. Obviously I have to pick and choose the things that I go to and the things that I want to be involved in. I think this is a time where, at least for the next month or two, that I want to just relax and spend time with my family and daughter and just kind of soak in this time to really focus on the rehab and focus on getting myself together. I definitely understand that I have a due diligence to reach out to the community, to reach out to people in a positive way. I take it day by day but being cooped up in the house all day, I even just opened my door and stood outside for some fresh air. I’m already… the anxiety is already setting in to not be cooped up inside. I do understand my responsibility to the communities and to the kids. That will all come once I’m feeling better, once I’m doing better and once I can be a little bit more mobile.

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