Victor Cruz visits Newtown family

  • ESPN.com news services | December 19, 2012

NEWTOWN, Conn. -- New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz has visited the home of the 6-year-old Connecticut school victim who was buried in a replica Cruz jersey.

Jack Pinto was among 20 children who lost their lives Friday in Newtown. Several elementary school-age children played touch football in the front yard of his family's home on Tuesday. Many wore Giants jerseys or Newtown football or wrestling shirts as they laughed, smiled and hugged.

The children and their families left after several hours. Kids carried autographed Giants footballs and jerseys.

About 45 minutes later, Cruz left the home in an SUV and an escort of five police cruisers, sirens blaring. He later tweeted that he has "much love to the entire Pinto family. Great people with huge hearts."

Several people leaving the home confirmed Cruz was there.

"Incredibly proud of what (Cruz has) done," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "That family will remember that all their days. Hopefully, at least some of their grief may temporarily be spent in being able to embrace Victor Cruz.

"The fact that he went and did that speaks volumes about what he has in him, inside."

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, who will play against the Giants on Sunday, also was impressed with Cruz's gesture.

"You've got to be able to put yourself in that family's situation to understand at least what they're going through," Rice said. "That's what it's about. You know, that's something that ... you do it from the heart. You do it from within. What he did was amazing because, honestly, I was affected by that more than I've ever been affected before.

"We play this game of football and we want to be able to please everybody. We talk about winning and losing, but the real losers on that end was the families of Newtown. They've got to wake up every day in a situation where – and have no answers to unsolved problems that no one can even imagine that it happened."

In addition to Cruz, Providence College from nearby Rhode Island is also honoring those in Newtown.

The Friars wore green jerseys for Tuesday night's 79-45 win over Colgate with the words "Sandy Hook" on the back above the players' numbers. Green is Sandy Hook's school color.

Providence coach Ed Cooley, who previously coached at Fairfield near Newtown, said he alerted Nike and wanted to have special uniforms made for the occasion. He said the school would then send the jerseys to the victims' families.

Information from ESPN.com's Andy Katz and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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