By Danielle McCartan (@CoachMcCartan and www.Facebook.com/CoachMcCartan)
BERGEN COUNTRY, N.J.- From growing up in the fourth ward of Paterson, New Jersey to catching a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl to secure a win in football’s biggest game for his hometown New York Giants, Victor Cruz has certainly “been there, done that”.
Cruz, 31, is not yet ready to sit around, reminiscing about the good ol’ days. He’s trying to win another Super Bowl. “I can still play [in the National Football League]. I can still be the same slot receiver you guys saw in 2011 and 2012. I can still catch the ball at a very high level. All I need is an opportunity.”
To ensure his next opportunity (should it come) does not pass him by, Cruz said that he is “staying with [his] trainer, staying in shape and staying connected to the game by understanding what’s going on out there in the League”.
So, save any teams picked up the phone to dial his number? Cruz said: “A couple teams did (early on) prior to the draft, but nothing as of late…. We’ll just remain optimistic.”
In the meantime, Cruz has been quite busy. In 2012, he fielded an offer to take his famous salsa endzone dance to the stage of Dancing with the Stars. He turned it down then, but kept the door open for the future. “We’ll see. We’ll see as the years go behind me, that show has become larger and larger, so we’ll see how it goes”.
For one of his latest projects, Cruz has invested in S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education through the Victor Cruz Foundation. S.T.E.M is one of the newest trends in education in the United States. “I went to the White House Science Fair a few years back and I saw all these kids making these tremendous inventions. They were no [older] than the kids that you see before you here [at my Procamp] today. I was like, ‘I have to have those resources for the people from my hometown, where I grew up, and have them have those resources because it was just amazing, the things they were doing. I wanted that influence to be in my hometown [of Paterson]. So, I started with the Boys and Girls Club [of Paterson and Passaic], implemented these programs and since then, it’s just taken off. So, I’m excited about where S.T.E.M. program has come and where it could go”.
While Cruz is flourishing off-the-field, there is no doubt that he would love to still be making catches and scoring touchdowns on it. “My schedule is as busy as possible as it is anyway, but [it would] be fun”. Could he make time for the NFL? “1,000%…. and if that phone call comes, I’ll be ready”.
This interview was filmed on Saturday, June 9, 2018 at Victor Cruz’s Procamp at Union City High School in New Jersey.