Victor Cruz will play in his first game since Oct. 2014 Saturday night, when his New York Giants battle the crosstown rival New York Jets in their annual preseason showdown.
After tearing his patellar tendon in his right knee and missing the entire 2015 season with a calf injury, Cruz’s much-anticipated return will finally happen at MetLife Stadium. Cruz said his comeback has been long overdue.
“I’m ready,” Cruz said. “Obviously it’s been a long time coming. But I had a good week of practice, everything feels great so I’m just excited to put that out there on the game field for the first time in a long time.”
Returning against the Jets is particularly fitting, as Cruz put himself on the map during a 2010 preseason against Gang Green with a ridiculous performance. A year later, Cruz made arguably the play of the season against the Jets in Week 16 of the 2011 season, when he scored a 99-yard touchdown that altered the trajectories for both teams.
The Giants went on to win their second Super Bowl in four seasons, while the Jets fizzled out and missed the playoffs.
“Story of my life, I guess,” Cruz said when asked if he found it interesting that he was first game back is against the Jets. “You can’t write it any better than this. This is the way my career’s gone, this is the way my professional career has gone. The Jets preseason game has always been some type of landmark situation for me.”
Cruz was a dynamic playmaker before sustaining the knee injury, racking up at least 998 receiving yards during the 2011-13 seasons. He will join a receiving cast that features new star Odell Beckham Jr., and rising rookie Sterling Shepard.
Step one of Cruz’s career revitalization will be completed when he takes his first snap in nearly two years. The second step will be to stay on the field and the third will be to eventually get back to his old form.
That’s what the Giants are certainly hoping, at least.