Al Bello/Getty Images
Cruz made his retirement official with the following video for UNINTERRUPTED:
Today @TeamVic announces his official retirement from the @NFL & the official start to his next chapter at @ESPN. Congrats on your extraordinary NFL career & all of your accomplishments to date! You truly embody the essence of being #MoreThanAnAthlete. https://t.co/oJvoNAG14T
According to ESPN.com, Cruz released a statement regarding his decision to join ESPN as an NFL analyst following his retirement announcement: “As I officially close one chapter of my life and begin another, I could not be more thrilled to join another championship team at ESPN. I’m excited to get started and share my insight and analysis with the viewers and fans of the NFL.”
Cruz went undrafted out of the University of Massachusetts in 2010, but he latched on with the New York Giants and improbably earned a spot on their 53-man roster following a stellar preseason.
Cruz’s rookie season was cut short after three games because of a hamstring injury, though, and he finished his first year in the pros without a catch.
That all changed in 2011, when he tallied 82 receptions for 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns as he helped the Giants upset the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.
The 6’0″ speedster kept things rolling in 2012 and finished with a career-high 86 catches for 1,092 yards and 10 touchdowns en route to his only career Pro Bowl nod.
Cruz flirted with a third straight 1,000-yard season in 2013 (998 yards, four scores), but his career took a sharp turn for the worse in 2014 when he suffered a torn patellar tendon that forced him to sit out the entire 2015 campaign.
From that point forward, his explosiveness started to wane—as did his role in New York’s offense.
Although Cruz appeared in 15 games during his final year with the Giants in 2016, he wasn’t a featured member of the passing game, as Sterling Shepard developed into the team’s primary slot weapon.
And while Cruz had a chance to redeem himself when he signed with the Chicago Bears, he was ultimately cut following an underwhelming preseason in 2017.
However, the sour end to Cruz’s career shouldn’t detract from the tremendous success he enjoyed after the deck was initially stacked against him.