Victor Cruz turned in several of the biggest plays of this Giants season, but he almost wound up on the waiver wire before his run with the team got started.
Cruz was in a fight for one of the final roster spots as cutdown day approached at the end of the 2010 preseason. The team liked Cruz, but they also liked Derek Hagan and felt that Cruz could use some time on the practice squad. Giants vice president of player evaluation Chris Mara admitted to Mike Garofalo of the Newark Star-Ledger that the salsa dancing receiver was destined for waivers before some intervention from up above.
“He was saved by some upper-echelon Giants front-office people,” Mara said. “I’ll put it that way.”
According to Mara, Giants fans have Rex Ryan to thank for Cruz making it through the final cut. Cruz scored three touchdown passes to spice up an otherwise unmemorable preseason game between the Giants and Jets in the summer of 2010 and Ryan raved about him after the game. The voluble Jets coach went so far as to say he hoped the Giants cut him so that the Jets could pick him up. That helped the Giants make the decision to keep him because they felt sure that Cruz wouldn’t clear waivers and make it to their practice squad.
Ryan’s mouth hasn’t made him too popular with Giants fans over the last three years, but this is one instance where it seems his inability to keep his thoughts to himself worked out to their satisfaction.