EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants’ first move in the NFL’s free agency signing period was to retain one of their best players.
“I have one year to prove myself, but all I need is one,” Pierre-Paul said moments after signing his contract in the team’s Quest Diagnostics Training Center headquarters. “I appreciate the Giants allowing me to come back and play here. But it was my decision.”
Pierre-Paul had other options, including one he publicized yesterday from the Arizona Cardinals, but chose to remain with the team that selected him on the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
“I have unfinished business,” JPP said.
That belief stems from his 2015 season, which was cut in half. Pierre-Paul missed the first eight games of the season while recuperating from a July 4 fireworks accident that badly injured his right hand. He returned to start the final eight games, which he played with his right hand encased in a club that made it impossible for him to grab runners or blockers. He finished with 26 tackles (21 solo), a sack, four tackles for losses, six passes defensed and two fumble recoveries.
“I know for a fact that I can play better than I did last year,” he said. “My main goal is to get on the field this year without the club and play some good football. We’ll see from there.”
“It’s definitely going to help,” he said of the surgery. “I’ll be able to grab. Now I’ll be able to open my hand up. My fingers are straight, and I’ll be fine. You’re limited with the club. I’d rather play with one finger than have a club on.”
Despite his limitations, JPP insists he was never frustrated in the eight games he played last season.
“Even with the club, even with my injury, I’m still the best at my position,” he said. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here. I think I played pretty well. With the club, people didn’t expect me to play the way I played. I played every down. It was just eight games – I was just getting started.”
“I want to be a part of the turnaround.” Pierre-Paul said. “I want to bring my game to another level. With the injury I had, I want to show people that at the end of the day, no matter what happens, you can overcome it in life.”
In six seasons with the Giants, JPP has played in 83 regular-season games with 57 starts. He has 43.0 career sacks, which place him eighth on the franchise’s official career list (since 1982). Pierre-Paul also has 345 tackles (255 solo), eight forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries and two interceptions, both of which he returned for touchdowns.
Pierre-Paul was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2011 (when he had a career-high 16.5 sacks in the Giants’ championship season) and 2012. He has been named NFC Defensive Player of the Week three times and was the conference’s Defensive Player of the Month in December 2011.
With a full offseason and training camp ahead of him, he expects to again be that formidable player.
“I missed training camp, I missed a lot of things,” he said. “As much as I hate training camp, you need it. That’s two years that I missed training camp, one with my back surgery and another with my hand. Hopefully, this will be an injury-free season, and I’ll be out there playing great football.”
I would like to thank each and every organization that reached out to my agent during this process especially the Arizona Cardinals . It was hard to decide, but me and my family decided that it's best for me to stay in New York, just being in the NFL is a privilege and I am honored. I am truly blessed to be in this position I am in today, thank you! Now with that said I have some unfinished business to take care of in New York!!! Giants FANS! Let's get to work for the 2016 season because your boy is back and I am not going anywhere! #90PowerCircle #90IsBack