Star wide receiver agrees to 5-year, $43 million deal
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants star receiver Victor Cruz has signed a five-year contract extension that runs through the 2018 season.
Cruz was a restricted free agent with three years in the NFL. Last month, he signed a one-year, $2.879 million tender with the Giants, but a long-term deal was already in the works.
The Giants could have matched any offers Cruz received from other teams — so he didn’t get any.
“I feel relief,” Cruz told Giants.com, shortly after signing his contract at the team’s facility.
“I feel I can just kick back and play football again.”
The new deal is worth $43 million, according to media reports.
“We are pleased to have this behind us,” Giants General Manager Jerry Reese said. “Now Victor can focus on football. Training camp is approaching quickly, and we all have a lot of work to do to get back where we want to be.”
Training camp opens July 26. Cruz skipped all of New York’s offseason program.
The 26-year-old from Paterson, N.J., was an undrafted free agent out of Massachusetts in 2010, but he’s become one of the most productive receivers in the NFL.
Over the past two seasons, he has 168 receptions for 1,628 yards and 19 touchdowns.
He was a second-team All-Pro in 2011 and a Pro Bowler last season.
Judge orders NFL, retired players to negotiate: In Philadelphia, a federal judge ordered the NFL and former players to negotiate over whether claims of concussion-related injuries will move forward in court or in arbitration.
U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody of Philadelphia had planned to rule July 22 in a legal fight involving about 4,200 former players and the league.
However, in an order Monday, she told the two sides to try to resolve how the case will proceed by going through mediation with retired U.S. District Judge Layn Phillips of Oklahoma.
The retirees want the right to sue the league, while the NFL insists the claims fall under the collective bargaining agreement and should be resolved in arbitration.
“We respect and will comply with the court’s order regarding mediation and will be available to meet with Judge Phillips at his direction,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement.
Phillips is to report back to Brody on any progress by Sept. 3. Brody also implemented a gag order on lawyers for both sides.
Many former players said they suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions and believe they stem from on-field concussions.
The league said safety has always been a top priority.
Lineman Josh Brent released from jail: In Dallas, Cowboys lineman Josh Brent is out of jail again, but under new conditions that include wearing a drug-detection patch at all times and not driving at all.
Brent was freed Sunday morning on bond. He’s charged with intoxication manslaughter in a December car crash that killed Cowboys practice squad player and close friend Jerry Brown.
Brent was jailed June 27 after testing positive for marijuana a second time.
Prosecutors have filed a motion to have Brent’s $100,000 bond revoked after the two drug tests. The bond conditions approved by a judge Sunday include wearing a drug patch and not driving under any circumstances, in addition to previous alcohol monitoring.
Prosecutors had no immediate comment. An attorney for Brent did not return phone messages.
Team executive arrested on suspicion of DUI: In Breckenridge, Colo., Denver Broncos director of player personnel Matt Russell apologized Monday for his arrest over the weekend on suspicion of driving under the influence.
The Colorado State Patrol said Russell was arrested Saturday after rear-ending a Breckenridge police officer’s SUV that was stopped on the shoulder of Colorado 9.
The officer, suspecting Russell was drunk, had pulled over to wait for Russell to pass, troopers said.
Russell and the officer were taken to hospitals and released.
Town spokeswoman Brodie Boilard said Russell also was in a minor accident earlier Saturday, and the other driver called police after suspecting Russell was intoxicated.
Russell was arrested on charges of DUI, no proof of insurance, careless driving causing injury, and having an open container after colliding with the officer’s vehicle.
He was freed on bond Sunday.
The Broncos said in a written statement Monday that the team was “extremely disappointed and concerned.”
In a statement released by the team, Russell apologized for what he called an inexcusable mistake and said he regretted his poor judgment.
“I’m ashamed that I represented this region and the Broncos organization in the manner that I did. I take complete responsibility for my actions and will be fully accountable. Going forward, I will take steps to ensure this never happens again,” Russell’s statement said.
The team said it was still gathering information and would handle the matter in accordance with NFL policies.
“We immediately expressed our disappointment to Matt, and he is fully aware of the seriousness of this situation. This type of behavior is unacceptable and very troubling. We expect better from all employees, particularly those in leadership positions,” the team said.
Ryan runs with bulls twice in Pamplona: Rex Ryan spent part of his summer vacation running from angry bulls.
The New York Jets coach joined thousands of thrill-seekers Sunday and Monday in the annual running of the bulls at the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain.
The team confirmed Monday that Ryan was uninjured while participating both days in the run, which is the highlight of a nine-day street festival and is televised nationally.
Ben Patton, a contestant on NBC’s matchmaker show “Ready for Love,” tweeted an Instagram photo http://instagram.com/p/bf6Qk0x2t5/ of himself and some friends posing with Ryan in Pamplona.
Ryan is wearing a red T-shirt with a picture of a bull in the middle with the words “Bad Toro” printed underneath.
The Jets report for training camp on July 25 in Cortland, N.Y.