EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.
– Tom Coughlin is glad Jason Pierre-Paul was here, but doesn't know when he'll be back.
Pierre-Paul, the two-time Pro Bowler who led the Giants with 12.5 sacks last season, this week visited the team and was examined by its doctors for the first time since suffering serious hand injuries in a fireworks accident in Florida on July 4. JPP was not cleared medically to return to the football field and has returned to his home state.
Coughlin opened his news conference this morning with a statement about Pierre-Paul.
"As you know, JPP was here for a couple of days," Coughlin said. "Went through all the medical. Was in an outstanding frame of mind. Was not ready to play, returned to South Florida. Optimistic about going forward and feeling better, and continuing to work toward being able to come back. So we'll monitor that."
Asked whether it was Pierre-Paul's hand or his conditioning that is keeping him off the field, Coughlin said, "The thing that had to be evaluated was his hand."
Rumors had circulated prior to his arrival that Pierre-Paul might soon be able to play, perhaps in the season opener Sunday night in Dallas. Those hopes have been dashed, but Coughlin is confident the team's morale will not be affected.
Photos of DE Jason Pierre-Paul
"I think the fact that he came in the way he did, Mr. Personality, was there and he felt good about himself, obviously, and where he's been," Coughlin said. "He's worked pretty hard. We actually saw a tape that showed him working. He's done a lot of conditioning type work. So I don't think there's anything to worry about there. Obviously, it'd be great if he was all healed and ready to go, but he's not."
Like everyone else, Coughlin can't predict how quickly JPP will heal, so he can't predict when the talented defensive end might return to the lineup.
"I wouldn't put any kind of time frame on it," Coughlin said. "It's not going to be something that I have anything to say about, anyways. It's going to be the medical people."
- Before taking questions, Coughlin also expressed his shock and sadness over the death of former Giants safety Tyler Sash, who was found dead in his home yesterday in Oskaloosa, Iowa.
Photos of Safety Tyler Sash's career with the Giants
Sash, who was 27, was a rookie on the Giants' 2011 team that won Super Bowl XLVI.
"I haven't seen Tyler in a couple of years," Coughlin said. "But one of the players texted me yesterday afternoon, and I didn't see that coming, obviously.
I know a lot of our players have responded. It's very sad. Most difficult to try and understand. But nevertheless, our condolences go out to his family and his friends, and all those that cared for him. He was an outstanding teammate, now. During the time he was here, the players really enjoyed Tyler Sash. So I'm dumbfounded by this, and I'm very sad."
- The Giants began their full-scale preparations for the Cowboys today. Linebackers Jon Beason (knee) and Jonathan Casillas (neck), and defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins (hamstring) were all on course to practice. Wide receiver Victor Cruz (calf) was not.
Coughlin reiterated that Cruz's issues have nothing to do with his surgically-repaired right knee.
"If this was strictly the knee or whatever, I think he'd be out there," Coughlin said. "The calf is what set him back. It's not the knee, it's the calf. There's been some communication around the league with other clubs. For whatever reason, these things are very, very hard to get over. And we've experienced it before, obviously (Nat) Berhe (who is on injured reserve after calf surgery) is a great example of that. But that's what is holding him back, not the other."
- Jasper Brinkley, who was signed this morning, will work first at middle linebacker.
"But I'm sure he'll learn to play more than one, perhaps all three (linebacker positions)," Coughlin said.
- Dallas' AT&T Stadium is one of the NFL's loudest venues. Coughlin said the Giants will use simulated crowd noise and work with officials in practice this week.
Playmakers on Cowboys first-team offense, defense, and special teams, presented by Nike