Perhaps no one in the NFL has had a more difficult year and a half than defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul of the New York Giants. His fireworks accident on July 4th of 2015 and the troubles that ensued left few believing that he could still play at a high level with substantial injuries to his right hand. However, the star defensive end returned to action late last season and has looked good in practice so far. He even scored a touchdown today, August 6th, answering questions about his rare appearance in the end zone during training camp.
“I’m just playing football” and “I was tired as hell, but I was ok,” offered Pierre-Paul.
Due to the damage on his injured hand, Pierre-Paul wears a glove that fits his hand specifically. He says that “It’s just a regular glove” and that it just had to be customized to fit his right hand. Pierre-Paul had been working out relentlessly this offseason and appears to be in great shape. He ran that ball stripped by Olivier Vernon all the way back to the end zone without a hitch, and his hand seems fine with the live contact and physicality that occurs during padded practices.
“I’m out there running and banging people, so I feel good,” Pierre-Paul noted after practice, but admits that he’s still getting there when it comes to his pass rush and run defense.
Regardless if he never returns to the player he was before the injury, having a slightly inhibited JPP on the field for all 16 games is better than the brief stint we saw of him last season. He doesn’t know exactly how much time he’ll see during the preseason, but given the events of last summer, he’ll be grateful that he gets to suit up.
“Me, I don’t care [how much time I get], to be honest," noted Pierre-Paul. "I’m just happy to be playing in the preseason game.”