Victor Cruz retires from NFL, joining ESPN as analyst

Wide receiver Victor Cruz announced his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday and is joining ESPN as an NFL analyst.

Cruz, 31, made the announcement in a video on UNINTERRUPTED.

"As I officially close one chapter of my life and begin another, I could not be more thrilled to join another championship team at ESPN," Cruz said in a statement. "I'm excited to get started and share my insight and analysis with the viewers and fans of the NFL."

He was a force for the New York Giants from 2011 to 2013, a time span in which he caught 241 passes for 3,626 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also had a strong playoffs after the 2011 season with 21 receptions for 269 yards in four games and a touchdown catch in the Giants' 21-17 victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.

Injuries derailed Cruz's career with the Giants, who released him in February last year. He suffered a torn patellar tendon in October 2014 and missed the entire 2015 season. He had just 39 catches for 586 yards and a touchdown in 2016.

"What a great Giant. I remember playing against him when I was in Philly and we were certainly well aware of the impact he could have on a ball game. I had a chance to meet him and be around him, and he certainly doesn't need an invite from me, but much like all the ex-Giants, I look forward to seeing him at practice any time he wants to be here. So, congratulations to him," Giants coach Pat Shurmur said Tuesday.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning was asked Tuesday if one play by Cruz stood out for him and he referenced Cruz's 99-yard touchdown reception against the New York Jets in 2011, which tied an NFL record.

"Obviously, the Jets game 2011, second to last game of the season. A 99-yarder just on a little option route. Catch it 10 yards and make the corner miss, and then outrun the safeties for a huge play at the time -- leading to us making the playoffs in the first place," he said. "Obviously, the touchdown in the Super Bowl over the middle. There's too many, a lot to choose from, a bunch of huge plays."

After being released by the Giants he signed with the Chicago Bears, but was released by the team last September and didn't play last season.

He will make his ESPN debut on Wednesday.