Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

James Shares Cruz's Dream

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

James Shares Cruz's Dream

Article excerpt

EAST RUTHERFORD - Charles James was sporting a new shirt after practice Tuesday, a gift from one of the NFL's best undrafted free agent success stories to a humbled rookie cornerback still harboring the dream of authoring his own.

The Victor Cruz-inspired tee - 'UFA' on the front, 'Undrafted' with Cruz's training camp number '3' on the back - was produced in limited quantities by his fashion brand Young Whales for friends and family of the Pro Bowl wide receiver and Paterson native.

After seeing Cruz with his shirt earlier this summer, James put in a request for one.

"He was like, 'Man, I'm an undrafted free agent, too, and I would love one of those,' " Cruz recalled Tuesday. "And I kind of laughed and said, 'We'll see, we'll see,' because we really just made them for family and friends of mine, to be able to wear something different to games. But I could tell how much it meant to him."

So on Monday, with James and the rest of the Giants out at practice, Cruz made sure one of those T-shirts found its way to the back of the chair in front of his teammate's locker.

Not only because James asked for one, mind you, but because he has earned it.

"That shirt is a throwback to when I was in that position, with my old number and everything," Cruz said. "He's one of the guys that has showed up and flashed since he got here. He's very talented. He definitely has some skill that everyone sees, and when he's covering me, I see it. He reads my body language and things like that, and he has proven so far he is a good player. Not only do we see that as teammates, but I think the coaches have seen it, and they like him, too. He's the real deal, so he wears it well."

James immediately posted a photo of the shirt on Instagram and displayed it proudly when he went outside for interviews with the media.

"I'm still a long shot at this thing," James told The Record on Monday. …

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