NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Victor Cruz has a beef with the Giants.
The veteran wide receiver, who was released this offseason following seven years with Big Blue, has hinted that his former team purposely didn’t throw the ball his way in 2016, adding the reason for it was to make his departure easier.
“I felt it all year long,” Cruz told the nationally syndicated radio show The Breakfast Club on Thursday. “Halfway through the year I’m ballin’, the other half I’m not getting the ball. And you’re just like, ‘what’s going on?’ It was like, ‘OK, I see what’s happening. They don’t want me here anymore.’
“A lot of people probably don’t know this… Let’s say I played well, was a 1,000-yard receiver last year, it would have been more difficult from a fan perspective to cut me,” he added.
After missing most of the previous two seasons due to serious leg injuries, Cruz posted just 39 receptions for 586 yards and a touchdown in 2016, a far cry from 2011-13, when he averaged 80 catches, around 1,200 yards and seven TDs per year.
Cruz, who reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears on Thursday, even suggested that Giants quarterback Eli Manning had a hand in the alleged conspiracy.
“It’s hard to believe. Even just to think about someone coming up to the quarterback and saying, ‘hey, don’t throw it here’ or ‘don’t give it to this guy’ … it’s hard to even fathom that thought, which I don’t even know or think that happens. I doubt it,” Cruz said. “But when you look at the film and look at how it goes down, it’s the only way.”
[graphiq id=”42LsBjm9eoB” title=”Victor Cruz 2016 Season Receiving Stats” width=”600″ height=”785″ url=”https://sw.graphiq.com/w/42LsBjm9eoB” frozen=”true”]
For their part, the Giants quickly shot down the notion that they went out of their way to avoid featuring Cruz more prominently in the offense.
“Do you believe it’s accurate? There’s no accuracy to it,” head coach Ben McAdoo told NJ.com.
Cruz later took to Twitter and backtracked a bit on his claims.
“I love the Giants, they gave me a platform no one else did,” Cruz wrote. “I am forever grateful! I never said I was sabotaged, don’t believe these headlines.”
Unfortunately for football fans that love this kind of controversy, the Giants and Bears do not play during the 2017 regular season.