The New York Giants will host community members from Newtown, Conn., at Sunday's regular-season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles, the team announced Friday. The Giants will bus in Sandy Hook Elementary students, parents, teachers and administrators for the game.
"I spoke to the team this morning about that, and what it really means to all of us is we were so taken back and so shocked and felt so badly for the families," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said, via The Star-Ledger, referring to the Dec. 14 school shooting that claimed 26 lives. "Not only the families of the children, but the families of the principal and the school psychologist, the real heroes who knew exactly what was coming and still charged and attacked and knew what the outcome would be.
"And it's Giant country, and we know that."
"I think it's great. I think it's awesome," Cruz said of the community members attending the game. "I spoke to the Pinto family last week just to check up on them, and they're coming along well. They're going to be at the game also, so I'm excited to see them again.
"I think it's just good for them to get away a little bit and spend some time on a Sunday afternoon watching some football and getting their minds off things a little bit."
Individual NFL players and teams have recognized the community in a variety of ways since the calamity. Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt tweeted a picture of him with "new friends from Newtown, CT."
Great move by Watt and by the Giants' organization.
Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.