Why The New York Giants Have the Philadelphia Eagles to Thank for Victor Cruz

By Jeff Shull

New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz has an incredible story, but if it weren’t for the Philadelphia Eagles, you may never have heard of him.

Cruz exploded onto the scene with his incredible Monday Night Football performance in the 2010 preseason, where he caught three touchdowns and made a ridiculous one handed grab, however he did not see much action in the regular season that year.

Though it was believed he could come back later in the season, a hamstring injury forced the Giants to place him on injured reserve. He played in just three games and did not record a single catch.

Fast forward to the insanity that was the 2011 free agency period. The NFL was locked out for pretty much the entire 2011 off season, giving teams only a two-week signing period before training camp.

One of the casualties for the Giants was Steve Smith, who was coming off a serious knee injury at the end of the 2010 season. The Giants did not think Smith would be ready for the start of the 2011 season, so they were unwilling to give him the amount of money he desired.

Who was? The Philadelphia Eagles.

They signed Smith to a better offer, meaning Cruz would have a chance to prove himself in camp. He did not impress as much as he had in the 2010 preseason, but he did enough to be named the fourth string receiver.

After injuries struck down Mario Manningham and Domenik Hixon in week 2, Cruz would step into the starting lineup against who else? The Philadelphia Eagles.

Who knows if he would have gotten that opportunity had Steve Smith stuck around. In fact, and irony is all over the Week 3 matchup with the Eagles, Smith dropped a pass that was intercepted by Aaron Ross early in the game. It prevented the Eagles from scoring.

Not only that, but the Eagles game would prove to be Cruz’s coming out party, catching three passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns. A little over four months later, Cruz is the franchise leader in receiving yards in a season, and has a Super Bowl ring to boot.

The Giants should send the Eagles a nice thank you letter; if it weren’t the Eagles out-bidding the Giants for Steve Smith, we may never have heard of Victor Cruz.

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