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Friday, July 26, 2013
Cruz: 'I don't feel underpaid at all'

By Kieran Darcy

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Victor Cruz was back on the field for the Giants on Friday, for the first time in seven months, and said he is happy with the new contract he signed earlier this month.

A few days after getting his new deal -- a six-year contract worth $46 million, with $15.625 million fully guaranteed -- Cruz sounded a little less than thrilled in an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Victor Cruz
Victor Cruz is singing a different tune about his contract nowadays.
"I'm not going to say it's easy when you see guys getting these huge paydays and you feel like you're at the same caliber, if not better than some of those guys," Cruz said, among other things.

On Friday, following the Giants' first-day-of-training-camp conditioning test, Cruz was singing a different tune.

"I don’t feel underpaid at all," the wideout said. "I’m very excited about my contract, I’m very excited about where I am with this team, I’m excited about the position that I’m in with this team, and I’m excited about everything.

"I don’t look at anybody else in terms of what they got and what I got," he continued. "It was just a general feeling, an honest feeling at the time of how I felt, and it got kind of depicted in the wrong way."

Cruz missed the Giants' entire offseason program -- OTAs and minicamp -- waiting for his contract situation to be resolved. But he reported to training camp in good shape, according to coach Tom Coughlin.

"His weight is exactly like it always is," Coughlin said. "He’s anxious. He’s excited."

"That was big for me," Cruz said. "That was one of the things I was concerned about. I mean, I would go train on my own -- myself and my trainer would make these simulated kind of OTA days, but obviously it wasn’t the same as physically being out there. But the biggest thing was nutrition, and just making sure my body was healthy enough, and I did a great job, my trainers did a great job, and I came in right spot-on with where I wanted to be."

After his new contract was announced, Cruz said he thought he and quarterback Eli Manning would get together to do some work prior to the start of training camp, but that did not happen.

"It was difficult with the birth of his second child, and me just running around and our difficult schedules," Cruz said. "But I’m excited to get out here with him and start getting stuff squared away, getting our timing back together. I assume it won’t take us very long."

"The last few weeks, just been kind of in different places, and haven’t gotten to work with him," Manning said. "He’s been training, he’s gonna be ready. He knows the offense well, so it should not take us long to get back on track."

The real work begins Saturday, with the first full practice of training camp. Cruz has a track record now, posting 1,000-yard receiving seasons in each of his first two years in the NFL. Now, at the age of 26, he also has a big-time contract, and enough cash to be financially secure for the rest of his life.

So, as one reporter asked Friday, what's left for Victor Cruz to prove?

"Just continue to be the player that everyone has seen so far," Cruz said. "Continue to be consistent, continue to catch the ball well, continue to score, eliminate the drops, and continue to be the same person that I am. Smiling from ear to ear whenever I’m making plays, and just continue to be that person that everybody has known, and the playmaker that everybody has gnown to love and to care about."