Hailing from a city that‘s known more for its crime than its rich history, the New York Giants' Victor Cruz is making a name for himself while giving the youth of Paterson, New Jersey hope. An undrafted free agent out of UMass, Victor first made a name for himself in a preseason game last summer, catching three touchdowns against the Jets. This year, he's come into his own as a regular season performer, with 40 catcehs and 4 touchdowns.
Victor joins a list that includes Just Blaze, Ruben “Hurricane” Carter, Tim Thomas, Larry Doby and Lou Costello as the latest Silk City product to make it out the slums. We got up with Vic (@TeamVic) to discuss his newfound success, Eli slander and the name of his TD dance.
What are you listening to at the moment?
Victor Cruz: Right now I’m listening to a lot of Drake. I have that Wale bumpin’ and I still have that Watch the Throne going real heavy in my iPod too.
What are your favorite sneakers to wear?
Victor Cruz: At the moment I have on the Kentucky LeBron 9s, but I’m a Jordan head. I just copped the True Blues and I’m getting the Cement 3s too. I’m definitely on top of the Jordan releases.
What’s the most money you spent on an item of clothing?
Victor Cruz: Oh man. To be honest, I just spent $700 on some Christian Louboutin sneakers.
Favorite alcoholic drink?
Victor Cruz: [Laughs.] I stay away from that stuff. I like cranberry and orange juice mixed.
Victor Cruz: Ever since I’ve seen that Audi R8, I’ve been on it. The Audi R8 is serious, definitely my dream joint right now.
Who’s the most famous person in your cell phone?
Victor Cruz: Other than my teammates, I’m going to go with JR Smith from the Denver Nuggets. We played AAU ball together, that’s my dude right there.
What does it feel like to get that contract and finally have some security in your life?
Victor Cruz: The most important thing is that I’m in a position to take care of my family and take care of my moms, man. I can take care of myself now and my mom is able to just worry about herself and do what she wants to do.
How did you end up at a Giants tryout?
Victor Cruz: I did a Pro Day at UMass. That’s when NFL scouts come to check out all the seniors and stuff like that. I did pretty good. There was a scout there from the Giants, but I went un-drafted. So, after the draft the Giants called me and offered me a free agent contract. That meant I had to go through training camp and make the team to get the contract. So, I had to work hard and prove myself again.
And then the preseason Jets game happened.
Victor Cruz: Exactly. It was crazy to have a tremendous day like that with the one-handed catch and three touchdowns in front of family and friends.
Rex even shouted you out on HBO and you were trending on Twitter.
Victor Cruz: [Laughs.] Rex said: “I don’t know who that No. 3 is, but he’s a pretty good player. That was pretty crazy, man, to have a coach like that say some positives things about me. Definitely appreciated that. And then LeBron was hitting me on Twitter and all that. After the Philly game earlier this year I think I was trending too. It’s a crazy feeling when people know who you are and respect your game. It’s much appreciated.
How does it feel to come from out of nowhere to being an integral piece to a winning team?
Victor Cruz: It feels good, man, coming from where I came from. Having that hunger is definitely the key to it. Coming from a small school, you understand that you have to make the best of what their facilities have to offer. And this ride that I’m on and this journey has been amazing. I feel blessed, man, and excited about the future.
You’re turning out to be one of Eli’s go-to guys.
Victor Cruz: It’s great, yo! [Laughs.] Just to have Eli looking for you on 3rd downs or 3rd and long situations is great, man. It’s definitely good that he trusts and believes in you to be at the right place at the right time.
Why do people continue to disrespect Eli Manning?
Victor Cruz: I don’t know, man. Playing in New York is rough and if you’re not winning all the time like Tom Brady or scoring 40 points a game and all that, people aren’t going to give you the respect you deserve. But you know, with his great play recently, he’ll get his just due. So, we’re not too worried about that.
Word on the street is, you grew up a Cowboys fan. How’s that working out for you?
Victor Cruz: Yeah, man I did. [Laughs.] It was cool when you’re a kid and don’t have ties to anyone, but now I’m with the Giants which is a great organization.
Are you going to show off on them when you play this year?
Victor Cruz: It’s definitely going to be an interesting game, being that I’ve been a lifelong fan watching them growing up and now I’m going to be on the other side. It should be fun.
Do you have a name for your dance?
Victor Cruz: [Laughs.] A couple of my boys on twitter called it the “Silk City Salsa.” I thought that was a pretty dope name, so I think we’re going to stick with that.
Tell us about Young Whales?
Victor Cruz: Me and my boy, Nate Collins came up with the line together and we sit down and design everything. We’re just starting out and we’re already seeing some sales. I have a bunch of my teammates involved that like the product. It’s kind of a play on words. A big-time casino gambler is called a whale, so our logo is a whale with a top hat and a bag of money. We have some cool tees and crew necks available. I don’t just back it; I’m 100% involved. Follow us:(@YoungWhales)
Last but not least. You can’t spell elite without?
Victor Cruz: Eli.
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