Victor Cruz is an American football wide receiver who happens to be playing as a free agent currently. He was born and brought up in Paterson, New Jersey, which is known to be one of the most notorious localities in the city of New Jersey when it comes to the crime rate. He was always interested in football and played for his school team. He was discovered by the football coach Andrew Slome and in 2003, he went on earning All-State honours as a senior. He then got enrolled into the University of Massachusetts and became a key part of their football team. In the 2010 NFL Draft, he was signed by the New York Giants and his career began with the pre-season games where he performed exceptionally well. Although an injury at the beginning of the regular season had him sitting on the bench for the remaining of the season. Suffering from injuries in the next few seasons, he performed above average. But it was not enough to keep him on the team and the Giants finally let him go in February 2017. In May 2017, he was signed on by the Chicago Bears, but they also released him from a contract 5 months later.
Childhood & Early Life
Victor Cruz was born on November 11, 1986 in Paterson, New Jersey in an African-American family with father Michael Walker and mother Blanca Cruz. He was born into a middle class family where his father worked as a fire-fighter. The locality around Paterson was known to be one of the most unsafe ones in the state. However, Victor managed to stay out of the trouble during the most part of his childhood.
He was interested in two things as a kid- football and dancing. His grandmother was an accomplished dancer and she gave him dancing lessons when he was 11 years old. He was fascinated with salsa predominantly. Later in his career, after he scored any touchdowns during the football games, he would perform a tiny salsa dance routine in order to pay tribute to his grandmother.
Victor grew up very close to the Giants stadium and attended several of their matches but he was a fan of Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys were known to be the best football team in the 90s, when Victor was growing up and he began dreaming about playing for them once he grew up.
Football remained his first love when it comes to sports, but basketball was more popular around his locality. He divided equal time between the two sports and excelled in both of them. In 2000, after he got enrolled into Paterson Catholic High School, he concentrated all his attention on playing football. Under guidance of his high school team coach Benjie Wimberly, he honed his skills as a wide receiver and a defensive back.
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He earned All-state honours during his senior year at the high school in 2003 when he led his team to an undefeated 11-0 streak that season. Victor scored 19 touchdowns in that year, with 42 passes and emerged as one of the most looked after players in the team.
In early 2004, he was selected to play in the North-South All-star game in New Jersey and around the same time, he received joining offers from several universities. He trained in Bridgeton Academy in Maine before he decided to join University of Massachusetts.
Due to some disciplinary troubles, he was only able to start his college football career for Umass in 2007 and he made his debut in the year 2008 in the starting line-up. During his first year itself, he proved his mettle in a grand style and scored 5 touchdowns and caught 71 passes. After his debut year with college football, he was voted to the First Team All Colonial Conference.
In his senior year, his performance dropped to some degree but it was still better than average. He scored 5 touchdowns and caught 59 passes for 868 yards. It was expected that the NFL Draft 2009 would be having him in a major demand but surprisingly enough, his name was not called. He was lastly called up by New York Giants and in the summer of 2010, he arrived at Giants camp and started training with the team.
He made his debut for the Giants in the pre-season ahead of the 2010-11 season. In an August game against New York Jets, he caught six passes and scored 5 touchdowns, leading his team to a 31-16 victory. He finished the pre-season for Giants with a satisfactory performance and was hence rewarded with a place in Giants’ 53 men rooster for the 2010-11 season.
He played only in three games during the regular season before a hamstring injury got him. He sat on the bench for the remainder of the season. He was placed on the injured reserve by the Giants and it was obvious that they had future plans for him and they could not lose him to another team.
Victor made a comeback in the 2011 season for his team and was a part of the team as one of the four wide-receivers. In a game against Philadelphia Eagles, Victor performed his best and scored 2 touchdowns and caught three passes for 110 yards ensuring his team a solid victory. In a later game against the Jets, he made the record for the most single-season receiving yards for his team.
By the end of the season, Victor had emerged as one of the best players in the team with a record to his name. He made the single-season franchise record with 1536 receiving yards, 9 touchdowns and 82 receptions. The Associated Press named him as a Second-team All-pro.
In June 2013, Cruz ended up signing his free agent tender for one year. In the next month he was further offered a contract extension by the Giants. This made the deal stretch to six years also including the free agent tender. In a 2013 pre-season game, he suffered an injury, which had him sitting on the bench for the most of the remainder season.
2014 proved to be a bad year as well when he was injured in a match against Philadelphia Eagles in October. This ended his yet another season prematurely. Before having an ouster from the team, he had played in 6 games and had scored only one touchdown. At the beginning of the 2015 season, it was uncertain whether he would be seen on the field or not. He made comebacks in between the injuries and spent most of the season recovering from them.
He finally made a comeback in the 2016 season after taking almost 2 years off to heal his injuries. He made his comeback on the field in a match against Dallas in September and scored his first touchdown of the season and celebrated it with a salsa dance, for the first time in two years. He performed well for the remainder of the season but it was not enough for Giants to keep having him. He was released from his contract in February 2017.
In May 2017, Victor signed a deal with Chicago Bears, but he was eventually released by them in September that year.
Victor Cruz has dated Elaina Watley for a long time before getting engaged to her in 2014. He had a daughter with her named Kennedy. But around 2017, it was rumoured that the couple had split up after Victor started making public appearances with the model Karrueche Tran.
In 2010, Victor started a clothing line with his former teammate Nate Collins, with the name ‘Young Whales.’