In 2014, Victor Cruz suffered a season-ending torn patellar tendon in Week 6. The blow was crushing to the 3-3 Giants and left Eli Manning with an inexperienced receiving group.
No one saw what was coming. Odell Beckham Jr., who had six receptions for 72 receiving yards in two games with Cruz to this point, would turn into the most efficient receiver in football. Beckham went for 85 receptions, 1,233 receiving yards and 11 touchdown receptions in the next 10 games.
He had more than 90 yards receiving in all 10 games, won the PFWA Rookie of the Year Award and made the Pro Bowl.
Now Cruz, 28, is back on the field at the team's training camp. How does the former Giants alpha receiver feel about Beckham's stardom? He shared his mindset in a Foot Locker commercial:
"Can't wait to take the field with you this year," Cruz says out loud before saying in his mind, "And take back my life, which you stole."
Beckham, 22, respects his elder, but Cruz holds on to his animosity in the ad. He refers to Beckham's one-handed against the Cowboys as "lucky."
Giants fans can exhale, as this is all in good fun. Assuming Cruz is ready to go for Week 1 -- he is recovering from knee surgery and missed the Giants' first preseason game -- New York will have two of the most skilled receiving weapons in the league. That is useful for even Bad Comedian Eli Manning.
It looks like this will not be another Wally Pipp moment in New York. Unlike first base, wide receiver can be a shared position.