The New York Giants reported to training camp on Thursday and star receiver Victor Cruz set the tone early by donning a No. 45 Michael Jordan jersey to represent his comeback to the gridiron. Cruz, who sustained a devastating knee injury last season, is striving to reach rarified air and recapture his elite speed and athleticism in time for the start of the season. The former UMass standout has worked tirelessly this offseason to come back better and stronger than before, after what some medical experts deemed a career threatening injury.
”Yeah, it was a coincidence,” quipped Cruz of wearing the No. 45 Jordan jersey. “I kind of walked in the closet and it was just kind of glowing. I got up a little early and I don’t know if it was just the sun from the window or just the overall glow of the red jersey, but I just grabbed it and put it on and felt like it was a little symbolism for today.”
While Cruz’s circumstances are much different than “His Airness'", No. 80 is shooting for the stars and ready to prove his critics wrong.
”The return was definitely on my mind," admitted the Giants’ wideout. “When Jordan came back wearing the four-five, he wasn’t playing with people, so that is kind of the symbolism.”
The Giants will practice for the first time on Friday and Cruz will have the first real opportunity to test his surgically repaired knee against teammates and truly show if he’s back to full strength.
"Tomorrow is obviously another obstacle in getting out there on the field, doing some routes and being a part of the team again, so I am excited, man.,” said Cruz. “I have been counting down this time ten months ago and I’m excited to get back out there.”
There’s little doubt that Cruz is highly motivated to return to the field and form an electric pass-catching duo alongside Odell Beckham Jr., but the question on every Giant fans’ mind has to be where is Jason Pierre-Paul?
After his July 4 fireworks accident the defensive end has virtually no contact with the Giants and is currently recovering at his home in Florida. While Cruz is creating a buzz at camp for returning in better shape than he as at the start of last year, Pierre-Paul hasn’t exactly fallen into the good graces of the coaching staff or his teammates failing to sign his franchise tender and report to training camp.
I reached out to him [but] I have not spoken to him just yet, but I sent him a text saying I want him to get back here, I want him to get back with the team,” said Cruz of Pierre-Paul’s status. “Obviously he has his own agenda but I want him to get back here and be a part of us so we can see him and know he is okay and move on from there.”