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Eli Manning hopes Victor Cruz is back for OTAs next week

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning speaks to

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning speaks to New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz against the Atlanta Falcons. (Dec. 16, 2012) Credit: AP

Eli Manning said he doesn’t have a sense of when Victor Cruz may sign a new contract or his tender offer and return to the Giants’ offseason workouts. He does, however, have a hope for when that happens. And it’s coming up soon.

“We get into some real practices next week (during OTAs that begin May 22) so hopefully as we get into those live going-against-the-defense practices he’ll get back in so we can get back to work,” Manning said today.

The Giants’ quarterback was at Mulino’s of Westchester today raising money and awareness for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, a school that trains guide dogs. He’s been involved with the organization for seven years and typically hosts the Guiding Eyes for the Blind Golf Classic each summer. He’ll do that again this June 10 at Mount Kisco Country Club.

Maybe Cruz will be back with the Giants by then, just a few days before mandatory veteran minicamp begins. Maybe he won’t.

Over the weekend, offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said he was not worried about Cruz’ absence and even embraced it (to a point) by noting that it was giving Jerrel Jernigan extra reps in the slot during the workouts.

“I know each year you’re going to need new guys to step up,” Manning said. “You’re going to lose some guys, have something happen. You always want to be prepared. Hopefully Victor is back very soon and able to play at a high level, but yeah, Jerrel also has to be able o help us. He has speed, he has skills, been in the system now a number of years so hopefully he can step up and fill a role for us. The more talented guys you have on the team who can make plays for you the better off you’ll be.”

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