NEWTOWN, Conn. New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz has visited the home of the 6-year-old Connecticut shooting victim who was buried in a replica Cruz jersey.
Jack Pinto was among 20 children shot to death Friday in Newtown. Several elementary school-age children played touch football in the front yard of his family's home 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.
After learning he was Jack's favorite player, Cruz wrote "R.I.P. Jack Pinto," "Jack Pinto, my hero" and "This one is 4 U" on his shoes and gloves for the game against the Falcons this past Sunday. Cruz said that he called the boy's family after hearing he was a Giants fan and was told that they planned to bury him in one of Cruz's No. 80 jerseys.
"I don't even know how to put it into words," Cruz said. "There are no words that can describe the type of feeling that you get when a kid idolizes you so much that unfortunately they want to put him in the casket with your jersey on. I can't even explain it."
Cruz told WFAN's Mike Francesa on Monday that he hoped visiting Pinto's family would help them heal.
"Sometime this week I definitely plan on going up there," Cruz said in his weekly spot.""Just visiting with the family for a little awhile and talking to them. Just spending some time, try to put a smile on their faces in a tough time."
Giants coach Tom Coughlin said his players were deeply affected by the tragedy.
"Being close to home, the players were greatly upset about it," Coughlin said. "Many of the players have young children so they can empathize with the parents who had young children killed."