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Victor Cruz a Jet? It nearly came to pass

What if Victor Cruz wasn't on the Giants, and he didn't dazzle us with his record-setting season? Would they be playing the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday?

What if the Giants cut Cruz as a rookie free agent in 2010? What if they cut him last August before this season? And what if Cruz (gasp!) landed in the laps of the city-rival New York Jets?

Thanks to a story in The Star-Ledger on Tuesday, we know just how close these things came to being the reality.

"He was saved by some upper-echelon Giants front-office people," senior vice president of player evaluation Chris Mara told the newspaper. "I'll put it that way."

As Cruz's story from unknown to the Giants' single-season receiving record holder goes, "it's no big secret he was on the bubble both years," according to Mara, who admitted the team was unsure of what it had after evaluating Cruz the last two preseasons.

In fact, fear that Cruz might end up with the Jets is one of the main reasons he's even still a Giant. You see, Cruz torched the Jets' backup defensive backs for three touchdowns in the 2010 preseason opener. And if you watched "Hard Knocks" that year, you'll recall Rex Ryan gushing over No. 3.

"I hope they cut him," Ryan said after that game. "I know one team that would be ready to sign him, and that'd be us."

Those comments, combined with Cruz's performance and what was seen on the game film, were enough for the Giants to save him.

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