Victor Cruz makes long-awaited return to Giants

ByJordan Raanan ESPN logo
Sunday, August 28, 2016

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz returned to game action Saturday night after 685 days away due to injuries.

Cruz had one catch in 30 snaps against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium.

The 29-year-old had missed most of the past two seasons with knee and calf injuries. He was also sidelined for two weeks this summer with a groin problem.

Despite being on the field for all of the Giants' first-team snaps Saturday night, Cruz was targeted twice by quarterback Eli Manning. He caught his only pass on the first play of the second half -- a quick 4-yard out -- against the Jets' backups.

Cruz's only other target came on third down early in the second quarter when he got a step on cornerback Buster Skrine deep downfield. But Manning's pass was underthrown and too far inside, and it was almost intercepted by safety Marcus Gilchrist.

On a night when the Giants' first-team offense managed three first downs and 56 total yards in two-plus quarters, it can at least take solace that Cruz appeared to make it out unscathed in his first game since tearing his patellar tendon on Oct. 12, 2014.

Cruz admitted earlier in the week that this wasn't just a normal preseason game; given his journey and struggles, it meant much more. After coming out of the tunnel before the game, Cruz went to the far end zone and took a knee. After several seconds to himself, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. came over and had some words for the well-respected veteran.

Cruz then trotted to the sideline and patted his heart as the fans in the end zone cheered and chanted his name.