The red carpet appearances and commercial shoots have been frequent enough that it’s hard to miss Victor Cruz this offseason.
But the hours unseen will determine how successful he’ll be when he returns to the Giants, as the wide receiver has kept a vigorous workout schedule this offseason.
According to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News, Cruz has spent the offseason working with Sean Donellan, the New York Islanders director of sports performance.
“Believe me,” Donellan said, “every fashion shoot you see him doing, he’s put in the time in the gym before or after. . . .
“It’s funny. He gets all these appearances and obviously he’s trying to capitalize on that stuff to the best of his abilities. But he’s very good at organizing and prioritizing his time, and he’s very, very good at staying grounded. He’s never lost sight of what’s gotten him there, what made him successful. And he’s dedicated to that.”
Donellan has done the usual physical training, and has also brought in other football players to simulate what Cruz has been missing while skipping voluntary and mandatory workouts before he signed his one-year, $2.879 million tender. Among those players were former NFL quarterback Mike Teel, so there was a chance for Cruz to run routes and catch passes.
“We’d find him different quarterbacks to work with. Obviously they’re not Eli, but, . . .” Donellan said. “And I’ve got some D-backs that come in and knock him around. So we do integrate in position-specific work. We’ve got some guys that come in and give him a good amount of work, bumping him off the line and just getting him sharp on that end.”
Donnellan also said he’s done specific work to help avoid muscle pulls when Cruz does go back into a football environment. Now that he’s under contract, we know when that will be, even if we don’t know how he’ll respond to an offseason away from his team.