User ID
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Betting Tools

Cruz: Meeting Pinto family was "toughest by far"

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - For much of his hour-long visit with the family of a 6-year-old boy killed in the Connecticut school shootings, Victor Cruz talked about football, life and young Jack, the child who idolized him.

Tears were shed. Feelings were shared. Cleats and gloves worn by Cruz to honor Jack Pinto at Sunday's game against Atlanta were given to his family.

The New York Giants wide receiver somberly recounted Wednesday his meeting with Pinto's parents and brother in Newtown, Conn.

He struggled in his retelling only when asked about the family's decision to bury the child in the receiver's No. 80 Giants jersey. The father of an infant girl, Cruz stopped for a moment, and his eyes became watery.

``You never go through some circumstances like this and circumstances where a kid faces or a family faces something of this magnitude at their school,'' Cruz said. ``This definitely was the toughest by far.''

Jack Pinto was buried on Monday and Cruz telephoned the family to ask whether he could visit them Tuesday.

The family disclosed after Friday's massacre that Cruz was Jack's favorite player. The boy was one of 20 first-graders and six adults killed in the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Cruz drove to Newtown with his girlfriend, Elaina Watley, and their daughter, Kennedy.

``I had no expectations. I was a little nervous,'' Cruz said. ``I just didn't know how I was going to be received. You never know when they are going through something like that. You never know how it is going to go down.''

Seeing the family outside the home along with some local children made Cruz feel better.

``They were still pretty emotional, crying and stuff like that,'' Cruz said. ``I saw how affected they were by just my presence alone. I got out and gave them the cleats and the gloves and they appreciated it. The older brother (Ben) was still emotional, so I gave them to him.''

Cruz had written ``Jack Pinto, My Hero'' and ``R.I.P. Jack Pinto'' on his cleats before the Giants' loss to the Falcons Sunday in Atlanta.

The 26-year-old player best known for his salsa dances after touchdowns, signed autographs for the children before heading inside.

``I didn't want to go in there and make a speech,'' Cruz said. ``I just wanted to go and spend some time with them and be someone they could talk to, and be someone they can vent to, talk about how much of a fans they are of the team, or different times they watched the Super Bowl.''

Cruz spent that part of the visit sitting in the chair where Jack's father, Dean, sat when he watched the Giants' Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots in February.

It was a day Jack got to see his favorite team win a championship.

``It was just an emotional time,'' Cruz said. ``I spent a little bit of time with them. We got to smile a little bit, which was good for them. It was a time where I just wanted to be a positive voice, a positive light in the tunnel where it can really be negative, so it was a good time. They are a great family and they're really united at this time and it was good to see.''

Cruz said it was strange thinking about a child being buried in his jersey. He did not know how to react. Should he thank the family?

``It leaves you kind of blank,'' Cruz said. ``I am definitely honored by it. I am definitely humbled by it, and it's definitely an unfortunate but humbling experience for me.''

The visit also gave Cruz time to reflect, especially looking at his daughter.

``Ever since it happened I've kind of been spending more time with her, just cherishing the little moments, the little time you get with her because you never know when that can be taken from you,'' he said.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin said he was incredibly proud of Cruz for visiting with the Pinto family.

``Hopefully some of their grief might at least temporarily be suspended in being able to embrace Victor Cruz,'' Coughlin said, adding what he did speaking volumes of what he has inside.

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice said what Cruz did took heart.

``You've got to be able to put yourself in that family's situation to understand at least what they're going through,'' Rice said in a conference call with the New York media about Sunday's game against the Giants. ``That's what it's about. That's something that you don't just say, `I'm going to do it.' You do it from the heart, from within and what he did was amazing.''


Online: and

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2016
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

Marshall: Tech Trends - Week 8 Dak, Dallas getting noticed
Nelson: Close Calls - Week 7
DiNitto: Opening Line Report - Week 8
Roberts: Mixed results in Week 7
Dobish: Betting Recap - Week 7
Giants release kicker Josh Brown
QB Jay Cutler makes return for Bears
Jaguars DT Miller out for season
Why Buy Picks From
NFL Pro Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NFL Hot Streaks
14-2 L16 Totals, 9-1 Sun., 21-7 L28
13-3 G-Play Run, +1,095 TY
5-2 Sunday, 7-2 L9 G-Plays
9-1 Last 10 NFL Guarantees
6-0 Record L2 Sundays
4-1 Sunday, 10-4 L14 G-Plays
5-2 Sunday, 10-3 L13 Totals
10-3 L3 Sundays, 28-14 NFL Run
17-7 Last 24 NFL G-Plays
6-1 Thursdays TY, 13-6 L19 GPlays
4-2 Sunday, 4-1 G-Plays TY
6-1 Guaranteed Plays TY
6-2 Record Last 2 Weeks
9-4 Last 13 Guaranteed Plays
3-0 L3 Thurs., 10-5 L15 Picks
6-2 Last 8 NFL Guarantees
NFL Pro Football Expert Picks - Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Pat Hawkins + 1095
Kevin Rogers + 500
Chip Chirimbes + 467
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Micah Roberts + 780
Jimmy Boyd + 290
Kevin Rogers + 285
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Pat Hawkins 60 %
Michael Black 58 %
Don Anthony 56 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Pat Hawkins + 1060
Chip Chirimbes + 665
ASA + 531
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 575
Paul Bovi + 542
Pat Hawkins + 370
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 810
Gary Bart + 544
Jimmy Boyd + 495
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership