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By Julie Parise, CBSNewYork.com for WFAN.com
NEW YORK (WFAN) – With one year left on his rookie contract, Victor Cruz reiterated Tuesday night that he doesn’t want to play football with any team other than the Giants – even if that means he’s not making “the big bucks.”
After insisting last week that the game means more to him than cashing in, the wide receiver appeared at the TIME Magazine 100 Gala in Midtown, where he repeated the sentiment.
“I don’t want to be the guy that’s going to hold out for money reasons,” Cruz told CBSNewYork.com. “I play this game for the sheer love of it.”
Honored at the event were two other New York athletes often recognized for modesty: New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin, who remains exceedingly humble when asked about his meteoric rise to fame, and the Jets’ Tim Tebow, who famously attributes his success to God.
Sounds like Cruz is on the same page.
“You know, when you were young, you didn’t play this game for money,” he said. “You just play your game. You do what God put you on this earth to do. That’s how I’m gonna approach it.”
The 25-year-old Super Bowl champion – whose current contract has him earning $540,000 a year – added that part of his desire to remain with the Giants has to do with his New Jersey roots. As for his paycheck, he’ll let it “take care of itself.”
With his teammate Osi Umenyiora publicly grappling with contract woes, does Cruz feel his attitude is one rarely found in the NFL?
“I guess so,” he said. “I’m trying to be a little different. I just want to follow my own path and do things my own way. [Even] if that means going there and playing football without getting paid the big bucks like everyone expects me to be.”
Cruz’s standout, record-setting season with the Giants will likely be tough to top – but when asked about his future, he didn’t appear to be concerned.
“I just want to remain consistent, keep up my high level of play, keep doing the same thing I’ve been doing,” Cruz said. “Take it one game at a time. That’s what I’ve been doing these past two years, and I think that motto should work out for me again.”
Julie Parise is the features editor for CBSNewYork.com.