Victor Cruz: Meeting Jack Pinto family was 'toughest'

  • By Marc Sessler
  • Published: Dec. 19, 2012 at 04:10 p.m.

As Victor Cruz faced reporters Wednesday, he struggled to recount his meeting one day earlier with the family of a 6-year-old boy killed in last week's Connecticut school shootings.

The New York Giants receiver fought back tears describing his hour-long visit with Jack Pinto's parents and siblings.

"When you visit a family that's going through so much and facing so much turmoil in their lives; you meet the family, you see people and the things they're going through, it helps you look at life through a different lens, like I said," Cruz said. "It really changes your view and the way you used to look at things. It changes your view of it."

Cruz etched Jack's name onto on his cleats and gloves before New York's 34-0 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, and gave those items to the boy's family during his voyage to Newtown, Conn.

"It was an emotional time," Cruz said. "I spent a little bit of time with them and we got to smile a little bit, which was good for them. It was a time where I just wanted to be a positive voice, a positive light in a time where it can be very negative. It was a good time. They're a great family and they are really united right now at this time. It was good to see."

Pinto was one of 20 first-graders and six adults killed in the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday. He adored the Giants and Cruz most of all, and will be buried in the wideout's No. 80 jersey. Cruz first found out about Pinto on Twitter and felt compelled to act. Not something he had to do, but something he chose to do.

Cruz said he was reminded "just how short life can be, how much you have to cherish every moment, how much you have to cherish every opportunity, every chance you get with your family. Never take anything for granted because just a day at school can change all that."

"(I'm) incredibly proud of what he's done," Tom Coughlin told reporters Wednesday. "That family will remember that all their days. And hopefully some of their grief might at least temporarily be spent in being able to embrace Victor Cruz. The fact that he went and did that speaks volumes about what he has inside."