Jason Pierre-Paul resigned with the Giants on a one-year, $10.5 million deal last week and while the Arizona Cardinals were rumored to be in the hunt for the defensive end, the star pass-rusher insists that Big Blue was always his top choice.
“First of all, I’ve always been in New York and it’s hard to go somewhere else for one-year and try to learn the system,” noted Pierre-Paul. “I decided that I stayed for that particular reason and they have the best fans in the world.”
The 27-year old underwent an additional surgery this offseason to help strengthen the grip and feel in his right hand. When asked whether he will return to the wrapped club that he used last season, Pierre-Paul remained adamant that he won’t need any added protection.
“I can use whatever I want,” Pierre-Paul told Rick Laughland of The Giants Beat. “Whatever makes me feel comfortable. Like I said before, I’m not going to use the club next year. If I feel like I want to I can, but my hand will be perfectly fine. And I’ve said that multiple times, so this should be a question that shouldn’t be asked anymore.”
While he only tallied one sack in 2015, the former USF standout showed flashes of Pro Bowl talent, but the club hindered his ability to wrap up opposing ball carriers. Pierre-Paul set a career-high sack total of 16.5 back in 2011, but the defensive end wasn’t in a reflective mood; instead he’s focused on the current campaign.
"That 2011 season is so old," deadpanned Pierre-Paul. "I’m tired of people talking about it. We have a whole other team, whole new faces on this team. Like I say, each year you want to get better. I feel my season was cut short last year, but I’m doing everything I can to get back to where I was at. I’m not looking at 2011, I’m looking at 2016 season."
The Giants made major additions to their defense during free agency adding: cornerback Janoris Jenkins, linebacker Keenan Robinson, defensive tackle Damon Harrison and most notably defensive end Olivier Vernon.
Pierre-Paul spoke with Vernon during the offseason to provide his endorsement for joining the Giants.
“He asked me about the organization and how do I feel about the organization and the team,” noted Pierre-Paul. I said ‘look you come here you’re going to be coming to a great organization and they do everything the right way’. “It was just a brief talk, I didn’t convince him of signing or anything. He made the decision the next day. He’s part of the team now and I’m excited.”
The Giants retooled defensive front, should turn what was a major weak point in 2015 into a strong suit this upcoming season. For Pierre-Paul, he understands he has a lot to prove.
“I feel like I have unfinished business this year,” admitted the veteran lineman. “I didn’t have a full 16 game season last year, it was cut short eight games and I returned the final eight games and played pretty well. I know what I’m capable of doing on the field and how much I change the defense when I’m around.”