What a difference a year has made for New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz. Long gone are the days of lengthy contract negotiations played out in the media, and long gone are the days of being the youngster of the group. Rather, the fifth-year wideout and Patterson, New Jersey native is now considered a v-word among his fellow receivers and is more than prepared to assume a leadership role if necessary.
"People are telling me I'm the vet and everything," Cruz said at an event for Frosted Flakes at Citi Field on Wednesday. "I'm like 'my fifth year in and I'm already getting the V-word?' It's pretty cool. It's something that comes along with the territory and be able to help others.
Even with the added pressure of finding himself in a veteran role, Cruz welcomes his current situation to the one he was facing a season ago. The long, drawn-out contract negotiations took a toll, but with that now well in his past, Cruz has no regrets and is beyond happy to be with the Giants and able to focus on football.
"I'm extremely happy," Cruz said. "I'm finally at the point where I can just relax and play the game and get better as a player and get better as a teammate, a leader and an individual.
"It's been a lot of fun, just building a rapport with my wide receivers, getting to know my teammates more and I'm really just having some fun out there this time."
Just assuming a veteran leadership role won't be enough to quench Cruz's thirst, however. Although he's not openly campaigning for a "C" on his jersey at the advice of Hall of Fame defensive end Michael Strahan, the Super Bowl XLVI champion still hopes to get that nod from his teammates.
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