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Victor Cruz plans to be "full go" vs. Dallas

Posted Sep 5, 2016

WR Victor Cruz plans to play the full game in his regular season return vs. Dallas: 

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Prepared and excited to play his first regular-season game in almost 23 months, Victor Cruz anticipates no limitations when the Giants open their season Sunday in Dallas.

“I believe I am ready to play a full game,” Cruz said today. “I have done great in my conditioning. I am in great shape, so I am ready for that regard. I think we are going to see. We will see how it goes, we will see how my body feels going into the third and fourth quarters, and we will take it from there. But I feel like mentally I am definitely ready and physically I am ready for a full game, conditioning-wise. But obviously, playing in a game, we will see how it goes.”

Although he hopes to remain on the field from start to finish, Cruz would like to quickly enjoy a welcome-back moment.

“I’m hoping it comes the first play of Week 1,” he said. “Obviously, you have to build to it, but we’ll see how it goes and how it unfolds. We’ll take it from there.”
 
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Cruz’s long journey from tearing his patellar tendon in Philadelphia on Oct. 12, 2014 will reach its most significant milestone when he steps onto the field in AT&T Stadium. He played in the Giants’ final two preseason games – and caught one pass – but playing in the regular-season far surpasses those appearances.

“It definitely trumps it,” Cruz said. “Obviously, the preseason game, to even suit up and be back out there and to be playing football again, was a great feeling. But this one, Week 1 when it matters, against the Dallas Cowboys, is definitely going to be one for the books. I think that being gone for roughly two years is just an emotional time for me when I go out there, an exhilarating time, an exciting time, but a time where I just have to look back and put this all into perspective from where I came from. To be here again is just a blessing.”

It’s one his teammates are happy to share with him.

“I'm excited for Victor, because of everything he's gone through,” quarterback Eli Manning said. “Just as a friend, as a teammate, excited to have him back in the lineup and I know he'll be able to make some plays for us.”

After so much time since he last played in a regular-season game, Cruz concedes his emotions will more closely approximate those of a rookie than the seven-year veteran that he is.

“There are definitely some jitters,” Cruz said. “I get butterflies before every game until that ball is kicked off, but this one might have some extra butterflies. Just being able to run out there with my team again, being able to line up across from an opposing team in a Week 1 scenario playing football again. I think I am excited, I am anxious, emotions will be everywhere, so I am just excited for the opportunity to run out there and see what happens.”

Those feelings are exacerbated because the opponents are the Cowboys, and the venue is Dallas, which is annually one of the Giants’ important and emotional games.

“It definitely becomes a bigger one when you play against your archrival,” Cruz said.

It’s a familiar rival with whom he must become reacquainted. Cruz last faced the Cowboys on Nov. 24, 2013, almost three years ago.

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“Obviously, I know most of the guys,” Cruz said. “I still watch football, believe it or not. I still kind of turn the TV on and watch the games. But, obviously, you want to familiarize yourself with these guys, their tendencies and how they are from a defensive perspective and then you have to do your homework.”

Cruz is an important piece of a first-team offense whose execution and production was lacking in the preseason. But like his teammates, Cruz is unconcerned and is confident the regular season will bring out the best in the unit.

“We do a good job preparing for games no matter who is out there, and I think that from an offensive perspective we do an amazing job of understanding what plays are in, understanding how we want them executed, and I think this week is of the most importance, so it is going to be no less. I think we are going to do a good job preparing and the offense will be ready and we will come to play.”