Victor Cruz retires, joins ESPN as analyst

Victor Cruz hasn’t played a down of regular-season football since 2016, so the fact that he’s officially retiring isn’t really news. But the fact that he’s signing with ESPN as an analyst is.

What will Cruz be doing in his new role?

According to an ESPN news release, Cruz will appear on a variety of programs and platforms, contributing to “NFL Live” and “Get Up!” as well as “SportsCenter,” and ESPN Radio shows.

The 31-year-old will make his debut in his new role on Wednesday, during the 9 a.m. ET hour of “SportsCenter” and “Get Up!”

Victor Cruz is officially retiring from the NFL and beginning a new chapter as an ESPN analyst. (AP)

Cruz was a guest analyst on “NFL Live” in January, and has made other appearances on the network over the years.

‘My journey hasn’t been the easiest’

In a video announcing his official retirement on Uninterrupted, Cruz acknowledged everything he got from football and that he’s excited for what’s next.

“The game of football has just given me so much. As soon as I got on the practice field, as soon as I got on those pads and that uniform and started playing, it was just kind of a place of zen. My journey hasn’t been the easiest, it’s had its ups and downs, some rough patches. This last chapter of my life was a great one, obviously, to win a Super Bowl, to play in a Pro Bowl, to have my daughter be born throughout all this as well …

“Football has given me an amazing platform to do all kinds of things outside the game: having a New York Times bestseller [“Out of the Blue”, released in 2013], designing my own sneaker with Nike – if it wasn’t for football, that wouldn’t have come to fruition.

“That’s a tremendous chapter to close, but I’m excited to close that one and open a new chapter, to join the media world and ESPN. I’m excited for the future, I’m excited for the next chapter, I’m excited for you all to be part of this with me. Here we go.”

Salsa-dancing star

Cruz was undrafted out of Massachusetts in 2010, and appeared in three games that rookie season with the New York Giants before being sidelined with a hamstring injury.

But in 2011, he shot to overnight stardom, his 82 catches for 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns – many of them celebrated with a quick salsa dance, a nod to his mother’s Puerto Rican roots. The Giants won the Super Bowl that season as well, with Cruz recording four catches and a touchdown in the win over New England.

He followed that up with his only Pro Bowl season, with 86 receptions for 1,092 yards and 10 touchdowns. In 2013, Cruz nearly had a third straight 1,000 yard season, with 998, but missed two games.

The Paterson, New Jersey, native tore his patellar tendon in an October 2014 game, and it effectively ended his career. Cruz missed the final 10 games of that season and all of 2015; he did play in 15 games with the Giants in 2016, but had just 39 catches.

Cruz spent training camp last year with the Chicago Bears, but was among the final cuts before the regular season.

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