Giants receiver Victor Cruz looks for more yardage after catching a pass against the Los Angeles Rams on Oct. 23, 2016, at Twickenham Stadium in London.

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Victor Cruz Announces Retirement, Joining ESPN

August 21, 2018 - 10:46 am
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By WFAN.com

Victor Cruz, who went from Giants training-camp long shot to Super Bowl champion, Pro Bowler and fan favorite, announced his retirement Tuesday.

In a video on Uninterrupted, Cruz said he is joining ESPN as an analyst.

"As soon as I got on that practice field, as soon as I put on those pads and that uniform and started playing, it was just a place of kind of zen for me," Cruz said in the video.

"My journey hasn't been the easiest. Definitely had its ups and downs and some rough patches. This last chapter in my life was a great one, obviously to win a Super Bowl, to play in a Pro Bowl, to have my daughter be born throughout all this as well."

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The Giants signed Cruz as an undrafted rookie out of Massachusetts in 2010. After enjoying a strong preseason, which included a six-catch, 145-yard, three-touchdown game against the Jets, Cruz made the 53-man roster. 

The Paterson, New Jersey, native had a quiet, injury-shortened rookie year, but then broke out during his sophomore season in 2011, when he amassed 82 receptions for 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns, the most memorable coming on a 99-yard pass from Eli Manning against the Jets. 

The Giants beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI that year. Cruz had four catches for 25 yards and a 2-yard TD reception in that game. Two weeks earlier, he had 10 receptions for 142 yards against the 49ers in the NFC championship game. 

Cruz, known for his salsa-dancing TD celebrations, was selected to his only Pro Bowl in 2012, when he had 86 catches for 1,092 yards and 10 touchdowns. The following season, he had 73 receptions for 998 yards and four touchdowns despite missing two games. 

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But in 2014, Cruz's career took a sharp downward turn. In Week 6 against the Eagles, he tore the patellar tendon in his right knee while reaching for a pass in the end zone, prematurely ending his season. A calf injury suffered in training camp the following summer then sidelined him for all of 2015.

Cruz finally returned in 2016, catching 39 passes for 586 yards and one touchdown in a playoff season. But in a salary cap-related move, the Giants released him after the season. He signed with the Bears, but was cut before last year's season opener.

After playing parts of six seasons in the NFL, Cruz retires with 303 receptions for 4,549 yards and 25 touchdowns. He ranks 11th all-time in Giants history in receptions and 10th in receiving yardage.