07-13-2012, 08:55 PM
CRUZ WILL ARRIVE AT GIANTS' TRAINING CAMP AS ESTABLISHED STAR (http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/giantsblog/cruz_will_be_lone_established_receiver_8Z9wwYoOyO0 XA24RCQG7vN)

"Victor Cruz caught up with Hakeem Nicks the other night at the ESPYs and Cruz
noticed that Nicks was walking on his own, without any crutches.

ďThatís definitely a good sign,íí Cruz said on Friday at a Time Warner Cable
event at the Queens Theatre. </p>

Nicks fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot back on May 24 and the
Giants set a recovery time of three months until he could get back in the

ďHe told me heís gonna take training camp to continue rehabbing and continue
getting his foot back right but I definitely expect him to be ready by Game
One,íí Cruz said.</p>

That sounds about right and as a result, Cruz suddenly is the one established
receiver for Eli Manning to throw to once training camp kicks off July 26 at the
University at Albany. One year ago, Cruz did not have a single NFL reception and
was preparing for a camp battle merely to survive the roster cuts. In two weeks,
he heads north as a young star, a Super Bowl champion with a franchise record
for receiving yards in a season, owner of a magnetic salsa end zone dance, an
incredible local-kid-makes-good tale, a bright smile and, seemingly, a
burgeoning career awaiting him.</p>

ďI wake up every morning, a part of me is just grateful Iíve been able to
accomplish everything Iíve been able to accomplish this year and this
off-season,íí Cruz said. ďI just wake up and Iím like ĎMan, a kid from Paterson
[N.J.] that came up and has been able to cross all those barriers and now heís
coming into camp as a guy thatís a staple in the Giants offense now.í Itís all
good stuff, itís good timing, Iím not too stressed out going into camp this

This year is also different from last year in that Cruz, amid the post-Super
Bowl hubbub, admits he hasnít worked out as often. ďI think last year I actually
got more time because of the lockout, I spent a lot more time working out and
training,íí Cruz said. ďThis year, among all the things Iíve been doing as far
as off-the-field stuff Iíve been able to manage three, four days a week for me
to go in and work out. </p>

ďItís not so much finding time, just making sure I get there on time. All
these events are great but I make sure I plan time and set time aside for myself
to work out and get ready for my real job, which is playing football.</p>

ďNone of this stuff is going to hinder what I do on the field, just stuff
that comes along with what I wanted to be. It was always my dream to be shooting
commercials and photo shoots and stuff like that. I just did things I only
dreamed of doing. As far as on the field stuff thatís going to take care of
itself. I havenít gone Hollywood at all, at least I donít think so.íí</p>

His mindset heading into camp, Cruz says, is not the same as itís been in the
past. His goal is to sharpen his skills while also helping the other receivers
on the team, as thereís no longer the need to open eyes in order to stick

ďThis year I just want to go in and maintain my same play and make sure Iím
staying sharp on the plays, staying sharp on my football as well as getting some
of the young guys acclimated and getting them ready to go,íí Cruz said.
ďSomebodyís got to fill that third role, whether it be an older guy like Ramses
[Barden] or a younger guy like [Reuben] Randle or Jerrel Jernigan. Those guys
have to be ready so itís kind of double-duty, making sure Iím good to go, making
sure Iím sharp and making sure the younger guys are getting in the
As far as not having to fight for a roster spot, Cruz said ďItís gonna be a
little weird, but coach Coughlin always tells us no matter what year weíre in
always treat training camp like youíre a 19-, 20-year-old kid trying to make the
team. I think thatís how Iím gonna approach it, making sure Iím still at the top
of my game, still competing, still getting after it just like all the other
guys, because thatís the only way you can get better. If youíre just sitting
back and youíre timid and ĎI donít want to go out there and show too much
because Iíve already done thisí thatís either when you get hurt or you donít
prepare yourself for the upcoming season.íí