Homage or disrespect? Sometimes, it’s so hard to tell the difference.
Last November, when San Francisco 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers intercepted a pass in front of Victor Cruz, he imitated Cruz’s signature salsa moves and the New York Giants’ wide receiver was not flattered.
“Then with his teammates cheering him on, he did a sarcastic salsa dance over me,” Cruz wrote in his book, “Out of the Blue” (via the Sacramento Bee’s Matt Barrows). “The Candlestick Park crowd went ballistic, but I wasn’t laughing. It was a sign of disrespect. Instead of getting up and retaliating, though, I sat and watched Rogers finish his cheap Victor Cruz imitation. I promised to never forget it. I wasn’t sure when the opportunity would present itself, but I was confident I’d get payback for that dance.”
Rogers, preparing for the Giants-Niners rematch Sunday, told Barrows that he just might do his version of the dance if he gets the chance.
“I like the dance, actually,” Rogers said. “I really can’t do it as good as him, but if I make a play or get an interception on him in my mind, [I'll] just do his dance.”
Perhaps he should concentrate on just covering Cruz, who caught 16 passes for 226 yards in two games against the 49ers last season. He’ll match up with Rogers and Tarell Brown on the outside and with Rogers in the slot when the Giants use three wide-receiver sets.
“He’s going to have something for me and vice versa. I’ll be ready for him. He’s a great competitor, a great guy, especially in that slot,” Rogers said. “In that first half, he had catches and kind of went off on us [with eight catches for 125 yards]. Luckily, he didn’t get in the end zone. But his catches were big catches and made the ball move. The second half, I was like, ‘Man, this man makes a move. Whatever leverage he takes, I’m just going to go opposite.’”