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NFL notes: Victor Cruz says meeting Newtown family was 'toughest by far'

Published December 19, 2012 4:51 pm

NFL notes • Giants receiver was 6-year-old Jack Pinto's favorite player.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

East Rutherford, N.J. • For much of his hourlong visit with the family of a 6-year-old boy killed in the Connecticut school shootings, Victor Cruz talked about football, life and young Jack, the child who idolized him.

Tears were shed. Feelings were shared. Cleats and gloves worn by Cruz to honor Jack Pinto at Sunday's game against Atlanta were given to his family.

The New York Giants wide receiver somberly recounted Wednesday his meeting with Pinto's parents and brother in Newtown, Conn.

He struggled in his retelling only when asked about the family's decision to bury the child in the receiver's No. 80 Giants jersey. The father of an infant girl, Cruz stopped for a moment, and his eyes became watery.

"You never go through some circumstances like this and circumstances where a kid faces or a family faces something of this magnitude at their school," Cruz said. "This definitely was the toughest by far."

Jack Pinto was buried on Monday and Cruz telephoned the family to ask whether he could visit them Tuesday.

The family disclosed after Friday's massacre that Cruz was Jack's favorite player.

Around the league

Eagles • LeSean McCoy will start at running back for the Eagles against Washington in his first game back after missing four because of a concussion. Rookie Bryce Brown filled in nicely for McCoy, running for 347 yards and four touchdowns in his first two career starts. But Brown had just 40 yards in the next two games and fumbled four times in four games. Coach Andy Reid says Brown will rotate in with McCoy.

Colts • Head coach Chuck Pagano will be back on the sideline next week. While no official announcement has been made by the team, interim coach Bruce Arians and others have pegged the Dec. 30 regular-season finale against Houston as Pagano's possible return date. He has not been on the sideline since late September after starting the first of three rounds of chemotherapy in his battle against leukemia.

Cowboys • Dallas couldn't trust receiver Dez Bryant to even run the right routes less than two months ago. Now the team is letting him dictate whether he plays with a broken left index finger. He's insisting on waiting until after the season for surgery. Bryant broke the finger on a catch against Cincinnati two weeks ago. He scored a critical touchdown in the 20-19 win after the injury and made it clear early last week that he would play against Pittsburgh. —

Week 16 schedule

Saturday

• Atlanta at Detroit, 6:30 p.m.

Sunday

Tennessee at Green Bay, 11 a.m.

• Indianapolis at Kansas City, 11 a.m.

• New Orleans at Dallas, 11 a.m.

Minnesota at Houston, 11 a.m.

• Oakland at Carolina, 11 a.m.

• Buffalo at Miami, 11 a.m.

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh, 11 a.m.

• New England at Jacksonville, 11 a.m.

• Washington at Philadelphia, 11 a.m.

• St. Louis at Tampa Bay, 11 a.m.

• San Diego at N.Y. Jets, 11 a.m.

Cleveland at Denver, 2:05 p.m.

Chicago at Arizona, 2:25 p.m.

• N.Y. Giants at Baltimore, 2:25 p.m.

• San Francisco at Seattle, 6:20 p.m.