NFL Football

Giants receiver Victor Cruz retires, joins ESPN

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

By TOM CANAVAN

AP Sports Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Former New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz has retired.

In making the announcement Tuesday, the 31-year-old Cruz said he plans to join ESPN as an NFL analyst. Cruz will contribute to variety of shows and make his ESPN debut Wednesday.

Cruz was a seven-year NFL veteran and a 2012 Pro Bowl selection. He joined the Giants in 2010 as an undrafted free agent out of Massachusetts. He had his first 1,000-yard season and caught a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl victory over the Patriots in February 2012.

Cruz had 303 catches for 4,549 yards and 25 touchdowns, including an NFL record-tying 99-yard reception in December 2011. He was signed by the Chicago Bears in 2017 but cut before the season.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning said Cruz had a terrific career.

Cruz burst onto the scene when he caught three touchdowns in a preseason game against the New York Jets in 2010. It made for a great story because he grew up in nearby Paterson, New Jersey, which was within 30 minutes driving distance, depending on the traffic. He made the roster but sat out with injury.

He became a star the following season.

"He had a great feel for the offense, his routes, and he was tough to cover," Manning said Tuesday after the Giants practiced for Friday's annual preseason game against the Jets. "He would run down the field, break it in, and we gave him a lot of options. He mastered some of those concepts, and it gave him a great opportunity to get open and make big plays for us."

Manning said he and Cruz talked in the Giants' locker room two weeks ago, and he wished him well "going to the dark side."

Manning laughed when asked if he wanted to prerecord his response to Cruz's first criticism of his play.

"He'll be all right, I hope," Manning said.

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Updated August 21, 2018

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