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Friday, February 3, 2012

UNDERSTANDING HOW YOU GOT THERE AND HOW TO STAY

The following comes from an SI.com article written by Don Banks:

"There are so many guys out there and there are so many guys that you're essentially just taking a chance on,'' Cruz said of the scouting process and its high-profile misses. "Some guys just slip under the radar. Once those hidden gems kind of get figured out and somebody sees them, then it's a great opportunity. Then it's a great shot they took. If they don't [make it], then it's another one bites the dust.''

At least once a month, Cruz said he calls former UMass teammate Vladimir Ducasse to thank him for drawing the NFL scouts to the Minutemen pro day in the spring of 2010. Ducasse was a highly-touted offensive tackle/guard coming out of UMass that year, and wound up going in the second round to the Jets. But without the draw of Ducasse, Cruz wonders if he would even have generated free-agent interest?

"It's about having just incredible persistence, and not taking no for an answer,'' Cruz said. "[And having] a little bit of luck, and being at the right place at the right time, and understanding what type of player I am and using every tool in my possession, every resource I had. I used it all, and that's what brought me here.''

One of the ways Cruz increased his chances to make an impact this season was by showing up for the players-only offseason workouts in Hoboken, N.J., organized by Manning during the lockout. Manning called Cruz and urged him to be there, and the two worked on their timing and rapport during those long days of waiting out the league's labor strife.

"That was huge for me,'' said Cruz, who is half Puerto Rican, and has entertained the media this week by conducting many of his interviews in fluent Spanish. "It definitely gave me a lot of confidence going in, knowing that he wanted to come to me and get some timing down. It was just good for me to get that one on one time with Eli.''

Read the entire article: http://bit.ly/whzbod