New York Giants Victor Cruz, who went from an undrafted free agent to an explosive Pro Bowl receiver, signed a multi-year contract extension on Monday to remain with the National Football League (NFL) club through the 2018 season.
Terms of the deal were not announced, but local media reported that Cruz signed a five-year extension worth $43 million with more than $15 million guaranteed.
"I knew we were in it for the long haul," Cruz, one of quarterback Eli Manning's favorite targets, told reporters in a conference. "We feel good."
"That's the business side. But I'm excited to get it done. I miss my team mates and I'm dying to get back out there."
The modestly-sized, ultra quick Cruz did not participate in New York's off season conditioning and was not with the Giants during organized team activities this spring or last month's mini-camp as he tried to work out a new contract.
Emerging as an elusive slot receiver capable of turning a short reception into a big gain, Cruz established himself as one of the NFL's top pass catchers in 2011 and 2012.
In those two seasons, he caught 168 passes for 2,628 yards (15.6-yard average) and 19 touchdowns, which he celebrated with his trademark salsa dance in the end zone.
Cruz, 26, also scored a touchdown in the Giants' Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots in 2012.
"We are pleased to have this behind us," general manager Jerry Reese said. "Now Victor can focus on football."
Cruz, who grew up in Paterson, New Jersey, signed as a free agent from the University of Massachusetts and did not catch a pass while playing in just three games as a rookie in 2010 before proving himself the next season.
"It feels good," Cruz said about getting the deal done. "More importantly just being able to take care of my family, my mom and my daughter. "Now I'm able to repay my mom and repay my family.
"Words can't even describe the energy that's flowing through my body right now. It's a beautiful, great feeling."
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Steve Keating)