Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Big Blue Wrs Eye Rebound

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Big Blue Wrs Eye Rebound

Article excerpt

EAST RUTHERFORD - Victor Cruz's mind is already working toward next season, even though his surgically cleaned-out left knee needs to heal some before his body can do the same.

Hakeem Nicks has one more game to play for the Giants until his tenuous tenure with his pending free agency comes into better focus, at least that's his expectation.

The future of Cruz and Nicks as teammates remains uncertain, although both acknowledged separately Friday that they hope for the opportunity to stay together as Eli Manning's top targets and recapture the magic - and statistics -- that made them one of the NFL's best receiving tandems.

While Cruz is under contract as a franchise cornerstone, Nicks has been under scrutiny all season for a lack of production. He kept the door open for a return to the Giants in his most candid discussion of his free agency Friday, promising money is not his only factor and emphasizing "stability" of the franchise - more specifically, the offense and his role in it -- will play a significant part in his decision.

"We ain't talking money right now," said Nicks, 25. "It's bigger than that in my eyes."

As for what he wants, Cruz admits to "being selfish" - covering the Giants' No. 80 has been a more difficult assignment for the opposition with No. 88 playing.

"It's tough to think about because Hakeem is such a fixture here for me for so many years and it's tough to think about, but obviously I understand the business side of it," said Cruz, speaking to reporters for the first time since undergoing season-ending knee surgery last week. "I just went through [free agency] myself a year ago.

"I understand exactly what he's going through. Hopefully, we can see him back. That's definitely the plan that I want to see in my book."

Cruz, 27, sustained a bruised MCL in his left knee against the Seahawks on Dec. 15 and an MRI later revealed he needed a clean-up procedure. …

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