The Giants' wide receiver signed a five-year, $43 million extension on July 9. A three-year veteran, Cruz had 86 catches for 1,092 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2012.
DAN PATRICK:After the George Zimmerman verdict, you tweeted, "Zimmerman doesn't last a year before the hood catches up to him." You then apologized. Can you explain what you were thinking?
VICTOR CRUZ: In the moment, I was a little angry. As a father you think about if that was your son. You want some type of justice to be served. Then the verdict comes, and it's the opposite of what you thought it would be. I put out the tweet as a reaction to what I was seeing on Twitter. Once I put it out, I [thought] that's not the right thing to say. There's kids who follow me, and I don't want them to think I'm inciting violence. I'm not that type of guy. Where I came from [in Paterson, N.J.], I heard violence outside my window every day. I don't want to be someone to promote that.
DP:Can you describe why you were angry?
VC: Discussing it with friends and family, we felt there was no way Zimmerman wouldn't get something. Whether it was 30 days in jail—we wanted some sort of repercussion for [Trayvon Martin] passing away.
DP:Why don't agents have a person who helps edit tweets?
VC: I wouldn't be opposed to that. You really have to be careful about social media right now. Anything can become news—whether good, bad or indifferent—in a matter of minutes.
DP:How hard is it to leave your friends from home behind?
VC: It's tough. Especially when you come from a neighborhood where your friends look up to you. They want to be close to you. They're your boys. But I have to make it clear to them that this is my life and I have to separate myself. I can't be involved in some of the negativity that you guys may be involved in.
DP:How does it go with Tom Coughlin if players miss "voluntary" workouts?
VC: It doesn't go over very well. He's trying to get his team prepared to win championships. He wants everyone there and everyone to be held accountable.
DP:What business role does [new agent] Jay-Z play for you?
VC: He's heavily involved in marketing. When there's commercials or any opportunities that come, I'll give him a call and we'll talk about it. I can call him even if it's day-to-day stuff—how ya doin', how's this happening—just pick his brain about what's going on in my life as well as in his.
DP:If I told you four years ago you're going to sign a new deal and you're going to have Jay-Z's cell number....
VC: I would have said, Stop lying to me. There's no way I'm going to have Jay's number and be able to call him anytime. That's physically impossible.
DP:Is he a Giants fan?
VC: I believe he's a Cowboys fan, ironically. I'm trying to slowly convert him to a Giants fan.
DP:He's also got Jets QB Geno Smith. How do you know he won't go that direction?
VC: I guess it depends on which is the more successful New York team.
"I'm not sure Major League Baseball wants a solution. [MLB executives could have a rule] that says if a guy comes up after May 20, he's not eligible [for the All-Star Game]. This way, it keeps the controversy alive. Maybe they're right in that thinking."
—TIM MCCARVER, Fox broadcaster, on Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig, who came up on June 3 and was not an All-Star
Tigers manager Jim Leyland wouldn't share any strategy for getting his star, Miguel Cabrera, out—in part because there is none. "I don't think there's any way to pitch him," Leyland said. "You might think there's a hole here or there. But he's so smart, he knows what people are trying to do." ... UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman isn't surprised that Anderson Silva is a heavy favorite for their Dec. 28 rematch. "I knocked him out," Weidman told me. "But the mystique of Anderson Silva is strong. People think I got lucky." ... I asked Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey the difference between the AL and NL. "About two runs on your ERA," the reigning NL Cy Young winner told me. "[The AL's] a hitter's league, especially the AL East. You got smaller ballparks and better hitters." ... Heat forward Shane Battier said reporting for ESPN during its NBA draft coverage was more challenging than playing in the Finals: "Game 7, I felt like I had control over what was going to happen. Draft night, you have no control."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PATRICK)
STEPHEN DUNN/GETTY IMAGES (CRUZ)
DAMIAN STROHMEYER FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (LEYLAND)
JOSH HEDGES/ZUFFA LLC/GETTY IMAGES (WEIDMAN)
TOM SZCZERBOWSKI/GETTY IMAGES (DICKEY)
GREG NELSON FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (BATTIER)