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Eli: Cruz has to do “what is in the best interests of him”

Eli Manning

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) speaks to Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (80) against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)


Give Eli Manning credit for knowing when to say when.

The Giants quarterback said he knows why Victor Cruz isn’t at the team’s voluntary offseason conditioning, and doesn’t mind that he isn’t in April.

He’s got to do what is in the best interests of him, and that’s usually staying away and putting pressure to try to get the deal done,” Manning said, via Jenny Vrentas of the Newark Star-Ledger.

That stands in contrast to Giants defensive end Justin Tuck, who said Cruz should show up for offseason conditioning as a show of “good faith,” before circling back on that stance days later.

Manning said he didn’t expect to see Cruz until the wide receiver and the team reached a long-term deal.

“I have a feeling I’ll see Victor here when the contract’s done,” Manning said. “That’s my gut feel, and I could be wrong. If he’s back here earlier, then that will be a bonus.”

Cruz worked out with Manning last week at Manning Passing Academy North (Duke University), and there’s no on-field work being missed at the moment.

And while Manning would obviously prefer having Cruz around, he’s also smart enough to stay out of another man’s business.