Q: How are you feeling?
A: I am feeling good. Day one was pretty good. I got to knock the rust off a little bit and run some routes and things like that, so it felt pretty good.
Q: From an emotional standpoint, what was this day like for you?
A: It was great. I was just happy to be out here with the guys, running around doing some drills. I was doing some tackling drills for the first time in a long time, so that was fun.
Q: Any nerves yesterday when you had to go through the conditioning test?
A: Not really. I guess more so just the eyes that were looking in my direction, but in the offseason I was working on my wind, my route running and just my stamina, kind of building up to this moment because I didnít really know what the condition test would be, so I wanted to make sure I was prepared for anything that was thrown at me.
Q: How comfortable are you right now coming in and out of your cuts? Are you able to go 100 percent?
A: Just about. I feel pretty good but obviously the true test is when we get some defense out there and we get to do something against them, which obviously comes tomorrow, but I feel pretty good, I feel confident on my routes. I hope it looked that way but it definitely felt that way, so Iím happy about that.
Q: What are your expectations of yourself by the time the season starts?
A: Hopefully to be contributing. To be out there with the first team making things happen. Thatís my only goal, to go out there and perform and be my old self again. Thatís definitely the goal.
Q: How would you describe this receiving corps?
A: Pretty elite. I feel that, at least on paper right now, that we have all the tools and all the expectations to be great, but obviously we have to put it together on the field. We have to do it physically and not just talk about it. I think right now we definitely have the tools to do some pretty amazing things.
Q: Early impression on the rookie Sterling Shepard?
A: Heís a good player. I saw him obviously all OTAís and what not and he runs really crisp in and out of routes, understands the game, understands what he has to do, but heís still a rook so I have to make him pick up my pads. I didnít think about that today.
Q: Victor, after missing so many games with Eli, how do you develop chemistry again with him on the football field?
A: Itís just reps. Not only the reps but obviously training camp, they are kind of limited but just picking his brain after each rep and after each play, talking to him just to see what he sees and trying to stay on the same page and pick his brain on how he likes things run and how to retool my mind on how it once was, but for Eli and I, weíve been together long enough where we understand how to play the game and how he wants it done. Iím a pretty coachable guy, so we can go back and fourth.
Q: What kind of conversations are you having with Odell Beckham Jr. about him as a professional, how he approaches his job and how you can help him?
A: Just understand that heís going to be pulled and tugged just like we all are to do a bunch of things, but he has to be smart and understand that itís okay to say no sometimes, whether on or off the field, to these obligations and understand what his priorities are. I think he understands that and heís becoming slowly but surely a professional in understanding the rights and wrongs of this game and the rights and wrongs of his craft. I think itís just going to take more and more repetition and more and more time day in and day out to understand whatís good and whatís bad. Right now, in between these lines, he understands what his job is.
Q: Does he understand that he has become sort of a target after what happened last year?
A: I think he knows. I think he understands that, so he just has to understand how to combat that, how to talk to you guys, how to talk to people out in the streets because anything he says is going to be used as a headline, so he has to understand not just what he says but how he says it and who he says it to and understanding what he says can be used as a headline at any given moment.
Q: What about getting his emotions under control once he gets on the field?
A: I think he has to temper that. I think it takes people like myself and people like Eli and other leaders on the team to just come up to him and be like, ĎHey man, we got your back. You donít need to go above and beyond as to what is being asked of you to do,í or ĎGo out here and be the great player that you are,í but guys like myself need to tell him not to worry about anything and go out here and play. Everything will take care of itself and we got your back.
Q: Whatís his reaction been to some of that conversation?
A: Pretty understanding. I think he understands that this past year since last season has been a little bit of a whirlwind in that regard and he understands that. He wants people to know him for him and how heís a great player, great person and how he wants to be perceived and I think he has really taken charge of that and heís just got to take it one day at a time.
Q: Have they told you about any limitations starting tomorrow, starting when the pads are on, are you on a different program or exactly the same program as everyone else?
A: I think Iím on the same program as everyone else. I think Iíve had a conversation with the medical staff and they just told me theyíre going to listen to my body and they want me to be open with them on how I feel, what I feel at any given time, so Iím open to that. Iím excited for the opportunity and I just want to go out there and play, finally.
Q: After what youíve gone through the last year, year and a half, do you fight yourself from being too excited about anything?
A: A little bit. I mean I woke up and popped up super early today just to get out here and feel good about myself and get ready for the day, but the anxiety is definitely setting in and I understand that I have to pace myself and I have to take my time. Anxiety is setting in, but Iím just going to take it one day at a time, one route at a time, one period at a time and just continue to build those up.
Q: What do you need to prove to yourself on the field during practice?
A: Just that I can do the things that I once did. That I can do it not just once but to be consistent. Understand what I am seeing, make those sharp cuts in and out of my break, have that quickness that I once had and just prove it all out here on the field because this is the only place I have to prove it to right now, our staff and my teammates, so I just want to make sure Iím doing that on a consistent basis.
Q: When will you consider yourself back?
A: I think itís going to take one play. One of those plays where I feel like I make a move and I make something happen and I catch the ball. I donít know, I think Iíll know when it happens and when it comes through, but right now me just being out here, me just running routes, me being in the same receiver lines as everybody else, I think thatís the first start of being back.
Q: Will that have to be in a game or out on the practice field?
A: I think it could be out on the practice field. Obviously you hope it will translate over but I think for now, to start, it has to be on the practice field and then I can take it from there.
Q: How about team expectations this year? Tough season last year, thoughts going into the season facing Dallas and where do you see this team finishing this year?
A: Thereís only one goal. Every time you line up, you donít play just to win six or seven games, you play to win the Super Bowl and thatís what our goal is and it starts with today and everyday after that, taking it one day at a time. Our goal each and every year is to win the big one.
Q: Iím understanding the medical staff is going to call all the shots on you every day. In your mind, are you saying the opening game is only a couple weeks away I need to play in that game?
A: In my mind, Iím just worried about tomorrow. Iím not worried about any games right now, Iím not worried about the first preseason game, Iím worried about the game thatís in my mind tomorrow, here during practice, so Iím going to take it one day at a time but obviously when those preseason games do roll around, I want to be a part of the team and go out and play.
Q: Do you play a little tentative or do you feel like you need to go out and play 100 percent and show what you have?
A: I cannot be tentative. Those thoughts are out of my mind. I have to go out there and just let it go. At this point, Iíve been through so much I have nothing else to hold back. I feel like I just have to go out and play and let God take care of the rest.
Q: Can you be the Victor Cruz of old or is that something that remains to be seen?
A: I think I can be. I think I can continue to work to build to that. I think it definitely still remains to be seen just because I havenít been out here, but I think as these days progress, as these days go on, thatís the plan. Thatís the goal, to be myself, and if Iím not where I once was, there is no reason to be out here. I feel like I want to go back and be at that same pedigree, and thatís what Iíve worked hard for all season.
Q: You posted a video the other day about the idea of doubters. Do you still feel doubt from inside this team that you can be Victor Cruz, the one that they expect to contribute?
A: Not from inside this team. I think this team has all the confidence in me, especially all the coaches and the coaching staff. They always come up to me and encourage me and tell me little things to keep me going and to keep me upbeat and sharp. They believe in me and this organization has believed in me for seven years now, so I just want to continue that trend. I think itís more so the people outside of our bubble, outside of this family that weíre in, that have those doubts and as much as people say they donít read those twitter and Instagram comments, I read them and skim them a little bit. I donít let it affect me but I skim them just to gauge what people are saying.
Q: How big of an accomplishment is this to get through a full practice for you?
A: It was huge. Obviously in two years, to be back out here with the team and to be running routes, to not be on the sideline with the medical staff, it was a huge accomplishment for me and I just want to continue that and continue to put these great days behind me and see where we net up.