Falcons vs. Giants: Do Victor Cruz and Ray Edwards Have Beef off the Field?

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 7, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 09:  Ray Edwards #93 of the Atlanta Falcons against the Green Bay Packers at Georgia Dome on October 9, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

When the New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons meet in an NFC Wild Card battle on Sunday, no player will need any added motivation to get up for the game.

Even so, Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards may be hell-bent on upstaging Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz.

According to Robert Littal of Black Sports Online, Edwards recently broke up with his girlfriend, a well-known stripper named Lastarya. The rumor regarding the reasoning behind the breakup is that Lastarya sent some racy text messages to Cruz.

This has yet to be confirmed by anybody involved in the situation, but it certainly adds a very interesting storyline to what is sure to be an already-heated game. The bad blood started earlier in the week when Giants defensive end Justin Tuck called the Falcons' offensive line "dirtbags" because of their cut-blocking.

As bad as that was, it is nothing compared to what may or may not have happened between Edwards and Cruz. If Lastarya was sending Cruz suggestive texts, it may not have even been Cruz's fault. With that said, though, Edwards is a man scorned, and he may not be willing to rationalize.

Luckily for Cruz there aren't many occasions when a receiver and a defensive end lock horns. You had better believe that Edwards will be in hot pursuit of Cruz should he catch a short crossing route or a screen of some sort, though. However, few have been able to catch Cruz this season.

Littal reports that Lastarya announced the breakup on Facebook. If Lastarya was trying to latch onto Cruz's rising star, then you can't blame Edwards for wanting to call off the relationship.

You also can't blame him if he actively looks to land a shot on Cruz.

Regardless of what happened, though, both Edwards and Cruz have to be focused on the task at hand. Neither player knows when or if they will make it back to the playoffs, so it's incredibly important to make each and every trip count.

There's a good chance that the winner of this game could face the Green Bay Packers in the next round, so their postseason stay could be short, win or lose. If Edwards and Cruz truly have an issue to address, then it shouldn't be done on the football field since that is their place of business.

These stories often sound much worse than they actually are, so it wouldn't be a surprise if Edwards and Cruz were able to talk it out and move on. You never want to pigeonhole somebody, but perhaps Edwards will think twice before getting involved with an exotic dancer next time.