The wait is finally over for Giants fans wishing for a more effective pass rush. Jason Pierre-Paul has reached a contract agreement with the team and has begun working out at its East Rutherford practice facility.
Pierre-Paul had been away from the Giants since he suffered a serious hand injury during a July 4 fireworks accident that resulted in his right index finger being amputated. The defensive end never sign the one-year franchise tender that was outstanding at the time of the accident, but instead came to a separate agreement with the Giants this week.
Now that Pierre-Paul is on New York’s roster, he can start working towards a return to the field in earnest.
“I’m very excited to be back,” said Pierre-Paul, “I’m getting ready to do what I have to do. I’ve been training down in South Florida with my trainer. Every day, I got up at 7:30 and lifted weights, I’ve been doing what I have to do to stay in football shape.”
Although Pierre-Paul is not going to be ready to play in New York’s upcoming date with the New Orleans Saints, the hope is that he’ll eventually be able to contribute to a pass rush that has been one of the NFL’s worst this season.
“It is just good to have Jason back in our building,” said head coach Tom Coughlin, “You can feel his energy and his desire to overcome what he has had to endure since July. His spirit is undeniable, and he is anxious to get to work with [defensive line coach] Robert Nunn and [defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo], as well as our medical and strength and conditioning people.”
Pierre-Paul has been one of the most important players on the Giants roster since he recorded 16.5 sacks and earned a Super Bowl ring during his sophomore season of 2011. Injuries limited his effectiveness in 2012 and 2013, but last year Pierre-Paul reasserted his dominance with 12.5 sacks.
That gave the Giants good reason to offer a franchise contract to Pierre-Paul for one year and nearly $15 million, but Pierre-Paul suffered his fireworks injury before signing the deal, which complicated matters. That’s in the past, and the focus is now on getting Pierre-Paul in playing shape so that he can help a team that is looking for its first division title since 2011.
“I’m just here to help the team out,” said Pierre-Paul, “I’m blessed to play the game, and I’m excited about the opportunity to play again.”