EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- For Victor Cruz, the sky-- literally -- is the limit.
Chasing a Pro Bowl dream, a new contract at season's end, and another NFC East title, the Giants receiver has helped his cause in all areas with big catches in big games this year. But his longest grab -- way longer than the 77-yard touchdown snare he made vs. Washington in Week 7 -- came straight out of the clouds.
Cruz, New York's leading receiver with 63 catches, 779 yards and eight touchdowns, recently corralled a football dropped from a high-flying airplane as part of a promotional campaign to snare that desired Pro Bowl spot. His girlfriend, Elaina Watley, proposed the idea, and Cruz agreed that it couldn't hurt, since he is among the Top 10 receivers in fan balloting.
Stunts like that are often seen in collegiate races for awards such as the Heisman and Outland trophies. But for someone trying to turn the $540,000 he earned in the third and final year of his undrafted free-agent contract into millions of dollars, every little bit helps.
"I've seen some different videos where guys promoted themselves for the Pro Bowl," Cruz said. "Just little things, like how some guys train and things like that. I just wanted to do something cool. It keeps people interested, and maybe gets some traffic toward the Pro Bowl.
"It was a good idea."
Catching touchdowns is an even better idea. Cruz ended a three-game drought with one on Sunday in
One disturbing aspect of his game, though, is drops. He had 11 last year, in his breakout season, and already has nine this year, tied for the most with New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham. Cruz had three in the opener vs. Dallas.
"He catches most passes," quarterback Eli Manning said. "[Drops] are just part of playing wide receiver. He knows it and understands it, and he comes back to the huddle knowing he's going to catch the next one.
"He always comes back to the huddle and forgets the last play and is always ready to go out there and do his job the next play."
Cruz caught a team-high 82 passes for a team-record 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns last season.
"I don't really think about the drops," Cruz said. "I just keep pushing forward, go to the next play, the next opportunity to make something happen.
"I don't know what other receivers think about when they drop a pass or do something that's regarded as wrong. That's what sets me apart. I don't think about the negative. And even when things go wrong, Eli still trusts me. He still comes to me and looks to me. It's definitely a positive to have a guy like that believes in your talent."