WR Victor Cruz
August 25, 2016
Q: How ready are you for Saturday night?
A: Iím ready. Obviously itís been a long time coming. I had a good week of practice, everything feels great so Iím just excited to put that out there on the game field for the first time in a long time.
Q: Do you have some sort of count in your head? Do you know how long itís been?
A: No, but you guys do a good job of detailing that on my social media channels, so I get a grasp of it. I donít necessarily look it up in my head. I just look forward to tomorrow and being better than I was the day before.
Q: Does it feel like an eternity?
A: For lack of better words, yes. It feels like a long time since Iíve been out there. Last week was kind of fun for me to dress up and obviously not play but to warmup with my team, put that jersey on again and feel like an athlete again. It was a good feeling and now it comes to life.
Q: We think of it sometimes as ďjust a preseason game.Ē Is this more than just a preseason game for you?
A: Absolutely. I think this one is more of just the game. This one is crossing so many hurdles, so many barriers. So many ups and downs that I had to face to get to this moment. Now, Iím just ready to relax and go play some football again. To me, this game is bigger than just the game. Although itís just a preseason game, for me, mentally and emotionally, physically, itís more than just a football game.
Q: Is it interesting to you that it comes against the Jets, which is a team that youíve had some history with?
A: Itís the story of my life. You canít write it any better than this. This is the way my career has gone. Itís the way my professional career has gone. The Jets preseason game has always been some type of landmark situation for me, so here we go again.
Q: Is it fair to say that the butterflies, anticipation and excitement will make you feel like a rookie again?
A: I donít think I feel like a rookie again, I can tell you that. There will be butterflies, there will be anxiety, there has been for some time now. Those feelings will all be back obviously. I get butterflies before every game until that ball is kicked off and until weíre playing. Thatís when everything kind of settles down and I can hone in on what Iím doing. This week will be no different.
Q: Do you have to prove anything to yourself in this game?
A: Not necessarily. I think I proved a lot to myself on the practice field. Just being able to come out here and play, run routes and come out unscathed and feel good the next day. Thatís what I really wanted to prove. Obviously this game is more for me to get hit, have that opportunity to get that game rep, have those game-like actions with Eli, being on the same page, all those things that you look forward to as a player.
Q: How pleased were you with this weekís practice? You said you were waiting for that moment, did that come this week?
A: I think it came a couple times. It felt good. It felt like myself. It felt like what I was used to doing and how I was used to playing. I think a couple moments came and I was excited about it. I just want to continue to stack those moments and stack those personal victories.
Q: What was that like in Buffalo, going on the field for warmups knowing you werenít going to play? It had to be difficult?
A: A little bit. Itís been awhile since I even dressed up and got out there and warmed up. I was happy to be out there with my teammates and having them cheer me on. It was like, ĎOkay, one step closer, 80.í Everyone just on my side and rooting for me was a great feeling. Just to be out there was the best part. Whether I was playing or not, going to be in that game or not, being out there going through the warmup with my team was definitely a step in the right direction.
Q: Did you see Rex Ryan at all?
A: I did. He came out to me during that warmup. He was like, ĎGood to see you. I know youíre not going today, but get healthy and weíll see you throughout the year.í Weíve always had a mutual respect for each other over the years. It was good to see him again.
Q: Youíve been close to this point a couple times and it hasnít worked out. When you finished practice yesterday, having the big heavy part of the week gone by and you were finished, was there a sense of relief that this was going to happen now?
A: A little bit. Obviously there was a little bit of an exhale once that practice was over. I was like, ĎOkay, I finished this week strong and not going backwards. Everything is going forwards and Iím moving in the right direction.í That was a good feeling and a tremendous exhale that I was one step closer to getting back out there on the field in a game-like atmosphere and playing with my teammates again.
Q: Youíve had two heavy practices. Were you able to go back and look at it and watch it. What is your critique? Where do you think you need to get better?
A: I think itís continuing to get a feel for the routes, the route combinations, the spacing. Continuing to work on catching the football, being explosive, continuing to catch the ball, running after the catch. Just getting that consistency back is the last part of it now. Understanding what Iím getting out there on the field from a coverage perspective and then working backwards from there. Everything is going in the right direction, I just want to continue to stack and build on that.
Q: Mike Sullivan said he watched you this week and had visions of 2011, watching tape. Did you?
A: I did. Some of those moments I spoke about earlier about things that I wanted to see in myself, they were out there on that football field. Some of that quickness and some of that elusiveness that I felt was definitely out there. I just want to continue to build on that. Like I said, itís one thing to do it one day but to continue to do it everyday and be consistent is what you want. I think I built a good foundation to continue to move in the right direction.
Q: Given the stops and starts of this whole process, was there a level of anxiety that you had coming into the week practice-wise and were you concerned that things might have been set back again?
A: Of course. The anxiety to come out, the training staff told me I was full go. If I had any limitations, they wanted me to let them know. Obviously I know my body after all this time that has passed. I was positive, I got a text from a friend of mine that said just go out there and have fun. I said thatís how Iím going to approach it. I came out, I was smiling, I was running around, having a good time. I think that was the thing that tipped the ice burg for me. Here I am and Iím ready to play.
Q: Was that right before practice you got that text?
A: About an hour before practice.
Q: Care to say who sent it?
A: Not Lebron.