Growing up in an impoverished city a little more than 11 miles from New York Giants headquarters, Victor Cruz heard his share of gunshots as a child, and he isn’t exaggerating.
The wide receiver got used to them, and it might have saved his life early Tuesday morning when gunshots erupted at a New York City supper club as he was celebrating his 25th birthday with defensive end Chris Canty and friends.
There were reports that five Giants were in the club at the time of the incident, which left one man dead and two people wounded.
However, safety Antrel Rolle said he left the club before the shooting, and receiver Hakeem Nicks and cornerback Aaron Ross denied being there that night.
The players had Tuesday off, so they had no curfew.
The moment Cruz heard the pop, he got under the table at the Juliet Supper Club in the trendy Chelsea section of Manhattan and made sure everyone in his party hit the floor, too.
“It happened so fast,’’ Cruz said yesterday. “I was just sitting there and you could hear it on the other side, the shots go off. The rest was just me on the ground and trying to get out of there.’’
Cruz spent several minutes on the floor, and worried about more shots and the possibility of being trampled by the people trying to get out.
“Any time anything like that happens, it is frightening no matter how many times you have heard a gunshot,’’ said Cruz, a former University of Massachusetts standout who is tied with Nicks for the team lead with 40 receptions. “Growing up where I grew up [in Paterson, N.J.], things like that were common, but not necessarily in the same area you are in. It’s definitely scary.’’
Gunshots in a New York City nightclub are something the Giants would like to never hear about again. Receiver Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg in late November 2008 when his gun slipped out of the waistband of his sweats.
Cruz said he isn’t the type to bring a gun to a club, but he knows the Giants’ history.
“Obviously, the stereotype is going to be there,’’ he said. “The Giants guy in a club and gunshots go off. I understand all of that. I knew I did nothing wrong, I was there just to have a good time with friends.’’
Coach Tom Coughlin addressed the team about the incident after practice yesterday, adding that he spoke to Cruz as a parent would speak to his son.
“I don’t know what good happens at 2:30 or 3 in the morning,’’ Coughlin said. “I’ve never been able to figure that one out. Beyond that is between he and I.’’
Police say the gunman and victim had argued.
Artis Arthur, 43, was shot twice and killed. A 28-year-old man and a 27-year-old woman were wounded and were in stable condition, police said.
Police were searching for the suspected gunman.
Dielman placed on IR
The Chargers have placed Pro Bowl left guard Kris Dielman on injured reserve because of the lingering effects of a concussion sustained Oct. 23 in a road game against the Jets.
Dielman was originally slated to miss two games following the concussion and a grand mal seizure on the plane ride home.
The team’s reaction to Dielman’s concussion came under scrutiny by the NFL and the Players Association. He did not come out of the game even though he was visibly staggered by the injury, and wasn’t diagnosed until afterward.
The Chargers signed offensive lineman Ikechuku Ndukwe to replace Dielman on the roster.
Vick is hurting
Eagles quarterback Michael Vick did not practice because of broken ribs, and it’s uncertain whether he will play Sunday night against the Giants. Eagles coach Andy Reid said Vick is “still sore.’’ Vick broke his two lower ribs on the second play of last Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals, but didn’t tell anyone and played through the pain . . . Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb practiced on a limited basis, testing his injured right foot for the first time since he was hurt three games ago . . . Top Bills receiver Stevie Johnson missed practice because of a sore left shoulder, leaving his status uncertain for Sunday’s game at Miami . . . Running back Mike Goodson became the 12th member of the Panthers to be placed on injured reserve after hurting his hamstring in practice last week . . . The Vikings signed veteran cornerback Benny Sapp, who had been out of the league since being cut the Dolphins in Week 1, to help a secondary further depleted when corner Antoine Winfield was placed on IR with a broken clavicle . . . Packers great Forrest Gregg, 78, who played in a then-record 188 consecutive games during his Hall of Fame career, said he’s been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.