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Victor Cruz enters “second half” of his career


The headline of the article, which has been trumpeted in multiple outlets, is much more ominous than the story. The real story is buried deeper in the article.

Giants receiver Victor Cruz, who has five NFL seasons under his belt, apparently believes he has fewer than five more.

“I have a retooled mindset of just going out there and playing,” Cruz told Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today in an item published earlier on Friday. “I have nothing to hold back anymore. I just want to go out there and play the second half of my career. A lot of guys don’t get to play six, seven-plus years in this league. I just want to enjoy it.”

Cruz burst onto the scene in his second season of 2011, with a career-high 1,536 receiving yards and a Super Bowl win. Last year, he suffered a torn patellar tendon on an October Sunday night in Philadelphia, and it was a thought he had days into his rehab that generated the most attention from the attention-grabbing headline of the USA Today article: “‘Either it’s going to make me, or it’s going to break me.’”

If it were a thought Cruz was having now, that would be a much bigger deal, since it suggests he may never get back to the field. But he had that thought months ago, and it’s clear that the rehab hasn’t broken him.

Regardless, Cruz has seen enough in five NFL seasons to know that he’s now closer to the end than the beginning. Few players under 30 will ever admit that. Which makes the balance of Cruz’s career even more interesting, given that he’s far more keenly aware of the inevitable conclusion to it than most players his age ever are.