WR Victor Cruz
July 30, 2015
Q: When you got up this morning and said, “I am going to wear this shirt (Bulls Jordan No. 45 jersey) today to my first day reporting to camp,” it was just a coincidence right?
A: Yeah, it was a coincidence. 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.
Q: Was “the return” on your mind?
A: The return was definitely on my mind. When Jordan came back wearing the four-five, he wasn’t playing with people, so that is kind of the symbolism.
Q: Are you going to score 55 against the Knicks at some point?
A: The way the Knicks look right now, you and I can go out there and score 55. Get us together Phil, c’mon.
Q: Is this an important day for you or is tomorrow going to be a more important day?
A: This was an important day. A, because I just wanted to get here, get back in front of my teammates, get back in front of the coaching staff and talk to them and show them the work I have been putting in. 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. I have been counting down this time ten months ago and I’m excited to get back out there.
Q: When the team period starts tomorrow, you expect to be out there?
I expect to be with the team at some point, probably getting some reps. I haven’t talked to the training staff about how we are going about the periods. We talked about my workload and what they want me to do workload-wise but nothing as far as what periods I will be in and what periods I won’t.
Q: But you expect it to be a process, right?
A: Yeah, I expect it to be incremental, kind of start off slow and then build as my progression goes and build from there so we will see.
Q: All spring you talked about being ahead. If you go back to last fall, would you have been surprised with where you are today?
A: I think so. That me was just trying to do it one day at a time, getting better one day at a time, crossing those small hurdles that I needed to cross in order to get to where I am today, but if you told me nine months from that time that I’d be playing and practicing and feeling really good about myself, I probably wouldn’t [have] believed you but I knew the work that I was putting in, I knew I would get to a point where I would get to this point. I just didn’t know when at that time.
Q: What would you say about the help you have gotten from the Giants medical staff and the organization as far as the rehab and how they helped you with your treatment?
A: It has been top notch. I have been in communication with Byron (Hansen) and Ronnie Barnes day in and day out just to keep them [updated] on what I am doing. As far as my workouts are concerned, when I wasn’t here in the facility, keeping them in tune with my personal training, making sure they are speaking and everyone is on the same page and on my progress and what I was doing. The organization has just been behind me 100 percent and that is what you want to see as a player. You want to feel like the staff wants you, like the training staff is really paying attention to you and your knee and that is what they did here.
Q: Why do you think it is so important for you to coordinate that with them? Obviously JPP has decided to take a different path, but for you personally, why was it so important for you to go and travel that route?
A: I think it is just the way I am. I am a guy that if I am a part of something, part of an organization, I want them to keep their hands on me, keep an eye on me as well as when I am apart from them, I want them to still continue to keep somewhat of an eye on me, continue to keep the communication going with whoever has their hands on me, whatever trainer there is. I think that just speaks to my personality. I want to keep everybody involved so they know my progress and we can attack this together.
Q: You are obviously a team leader. Have you reached out to Jason? Have you heard back from him?
A: I have. 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. 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.
Q: Do you maybe understand with what he is going through because a couple years ago there were no fireworks involved but you weren’t here for a little bit?
A: Yeah, I can definitely feel his mindset and the things he is going through. Obviously it is a little different scenario contractually where I was and where he is, but I can feel what he is going through. Obviously when you put your blood, sweat and tears into a team, you want to be rewarded as much as you think you are or you can, so I can definitely feel his pain.
Q: Your body from your rehab, has there been any changes? You seem a little bigger?
A: You checking me out? Do I look good? He is blushing. You see him blushing? Yes. I have been working out. Obviously with a lower body injury, you do a lot of upper body, at least early on. I was definitely working out, making sure I stayed physically ready to go and physically was ready to face the battle of training camp and things like that. The lower body came afterwards, obviously, once the knee got fully healthy and when I was able to squat and able to do lunges and things like that, so the lower body came later, but yeah, man, I feel good.
Q: Will you be wearing sleeves this summer?
A: No sleeves. I barely want to wear a shirt, but unfortunately the organization makes you wear one here, so I will be wearing a shirt but no sleeves.
Q: I think Weatherford has you beat with the shirt.
A: He has got it. He works out in just compression shorts; I’m not doing that just yet.
Q: You’ve joked about your percentage. You want to give us the truth of what you think your percentage is right about now?
A: I am at around 93 percent.
Q: By September 13, you figure?
A: Hopefully, I am at 100 percent by then. That is the goal but I am at 93 right now. I feel good. The conditioning test went well. I am actually still sweating from the conditioning test but I feel good.
Q: Do you have to sort of make sure to take it slow in a way? Are you okay with that and do you understand you have to take it slower or do you just plan on doing as much as possible?
A: I mean I do understand that I have to take it slow and the training staff understands that as well. Even if I went to them and was like, “I feel 100 percent and want to go out there and play and do every series.” They understand that they want me to take it slow and again I am still not…there is a difference between being in shape and then football shape so I still have to kind of develop that a little bit so that takes a little bit of time, I week or two so we will see how it goes but I definitely understand that I want to take it one game at a time, one step at a time, one practice at a time.
When you talk about football shape are you talking about the weight of having the pads and helmet on?
A: Exactly. You can run hundreds [and] you can run sprints all the time but when you have pads on, you are running routes, you are stopping, you are starting, you are sprinting and you’re going, so that is a little bit different endurance that plays a part when you are out there on the field so I still have to develop that little by little and take it one day at a time.
Q: You haven’t really done that? Any simulated drills?
A: I haven’t. I have done kind of a movement route running drill to kind of build some endurance, but like I said when you have the helmet on and pads and you have defenders and stuff like that, it is a little different.
Q: What do you think of Prince’s assessment? He said you may even look faster than you did before.
A: I think he is pretty spot on. I mean, what am I going to say? I was out in Phoenix a little bit training and was there warming up and all of a sudden, I look to my left and see Prince Amukamara grinning from ear to ear. The last person I thought I was going to see in that weight room, but yeah, we got to run some routes and he got to see me pretty much before anyone else has and he felt like I looked good and felt as though, in his words, “Better than I had looked in years prior.” So I will take his word for it, but I felt good.
Q: Do you honestly feel you are just as fast as you were? Did you test yourself or have any numbers?
A: I didn’t test myself, I didn’t time anything. I think it was more of a feel thing. I think the biggest thing for me wasn’t just speed, it was more so as fast I could get in and out of those cuts. The faster I can get in on those cuts and catch the ball and get up field, that felt really sharp and really crisp and the speed will come and if it is not there already, it will come. I am not going to pressure myself or time myself to be at a certain speed, but the biggest thing for me was those cuts and if I can get those cuts to where they are and I think they and I just have to keep building on that.