Fans line up to be on Cruz's dance card

New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz does

New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz does his touchdown dance -- the salsa -- with fans at a Modell's store in Manhattan. (Jan. 24, 2012) (Credit: Craig Ruttle)

If there's any illustration of just how life has changed for Giants receiver Victor Cruz, his appearance at Modell's in Times Square was a good one.

Fans filled the sporting goods store Tuesday to see the Giants star partake in a salsa-dancing lesson, sign some autographs and promote a new T-shirt officially on sale with "Cruuuuuuuuuz!" on the front and salsa steps on the back -- an homage to his trademark touchdown celebration.

"It's insane, man," Cruz said. "To see all the love and see all the people that follow you and follow the Giants. It's an amazing feeling."

In his first full season, Cruz has certainly emerged as a fan favorite. He led the team with 82 catches, 1,536 yards and tied for the team lead with nine touchdowns this season and added 10 catches for 142 yards in the NFC Championship Game. Now he's gearing up for the Super Bowl in 11 days.

It's a strange feeling, considering Cruz watched the Giants beat New England in Super Bowl XLII from a friend's apartment while attending UMass.

"We were having a little party," Cruz said. "It's amazing to watch it and now a couple years later you're actually in the game. It's just crazy."

An undrafted free agent, now Cruz is one of Eli Manning's favorite targets, a second-team All-Pro, and his celebrity seems at its peak. He recently turned down an opportunity to appear on "Dancing with the Stars" in the offseason and a five-minute lesson at Modell's drew fans by the hundreds screaming his name.

It was billed as the first in-store salsa dance lesson at the Flagship Modell's Times Square store -- not the typical type of appearance for a football player. Cruz said even he cannot believe how much his TD celebration has taken off. But it's a signature move he's willing to keep.

And he's hoping for another dance or two in Indianapolis.

"It's been an amazing ride for me this year," Cruz said. "Hopefully we can keep it going."

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