Cruz plans trip to visit Newtown family

December, 16, 2012
12/16/12
8:30
PM ET

ATLANTA -- New York Giants star Victor Cruz plans to visit the family of one of the children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, to present the cleats and gloves the wide receiver wore in Sunday's game with the Atlanta Falcons.

Cruz used the equipment to pay tribute to Jack Pinto, 6. Cruz was the favorite player of the young Giants fan, who was among those murdered by a gunman Friday in Newtown, Conn.

After an emotional phone conversation with Pinto's parents and 11-year-old brother Saturday night, Cruz wrote "R.I.P. Jack Pinto" on one of his game-day shoes and Jack's name and the words "My Hero" on the other. He also wrote "This one is 4 u!" on one of his gloves.

"I definitely plan on giving my cleats and gloves to the family. [I'm] going to try to head down there sometime this week," Cruz said after the Giants' 34-0 defeat. "Just spend some time with them, talk to them a little bit, and get to know them a little bit. … I wanted to go down there and pay my respects in person.”

Cruz said Dean and Tricia Pinto, Jack's parents, told him they planned on burying their son in Cruz's No. 80 jersey. "I told them I was honored," Cruz said. "I couldn't even express to them how great that made me feel, and how big of an honor that is."

Cruz promised to "help their family any way I can." Earlier Sunday he had tweeted, "Today's game is for you Jack." Though Cruz said he was saddened and disappointed by the Giants' failure in the Georgia Dome, he found comfort in the connection he made with a devastated family.

"It felt good to honor a family that was going through so much," Cruz said. "Messages can go out to these athletes, and some athletes just brush them off. So it felt good to be one of these athletes that really listened to that family, and really did something to pay tribute to them."

Ian O'Connor

ESPNNewYork.com columnist
Ian O'Connor has won numerous national awards as a sports columnist and is the author of three books, including the bestseller, "The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter." ESPN Radio broadcasts "The Ian O'Connor Show" every Sunday from 7 to 9 a.m. ET. Follow Ian on Twitter »

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