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Victor Cruz: Meeting Jack Pinto family was 'toughest'

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 shooting.

The New York Giants receiver fought back tears while 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."

New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz wrote on his cleats in honor of Jack Pinto, a 6-year-old victim of the Newtown, Conn., shootings. (Victor Cruz/Twitter)
New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz wrote on his cleats in honor of Jack Pinto, a 6-year-old victim of the Newtown, Conn., shootings. (Victor Cruz/Twitter)

Cruz etched Jack's name onto on his cleats and gloves before the Giants' 34-0 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, and he 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 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday. He adored the Giants and Cruz most of all, and he was buried Monday 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," Giants coach 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."

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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