EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** Unable to speak directly to a wounded and absent Jason Pierre-Paul, John Mara today delivered a message to the two-time Pro Bowler through the media: "Come home, we miss you."
"That's been the message all along, really" coach Tom Coughlin said when informed of Mara's remarks. "It's hard to believe that he couldn't get here and take care of an awful lot of issues rather than what they're doing. But, again, I've not spoken with him and very few people here have."
The Giants opened training camp today, an occasion that always includes a Coughlin news conference. Mara, the Giants' president and chief executive officer, took the unusual step of holding his own meeting with reporters. And though he discussed several subjects, Mara admitted he did so in part to reach out to JPP, who has had minimal contact with the team since an accident with fireworks in Florida on July 4.
"Those are the reasons that I am here, other than the fact that I have missed all of you so much," Mara said.
Mara emphasized the Giants are first and foremost concerned about Pierre-Paul's well-being and will do whatever they can to help him. But JPP has had minimal contact with the team and did not report today.
"I believe Ronnie (Barnes, the team's senior vice president for medical services) spoke with him on the phone," Mara said. "I have exchanged text messages with him. I know (defensive line coach) Robert Nunn has exchanged texts with him. I don't know if he has spoken to him personally or not. Tom (sent) texts, (general manager) Jerry (Reese), but it has predominantly been text messages.
"I'm disappointed he's not here. I think this would be the best place for him to be for a number of different reasons. He would have the opportunity to learn the defense, but more importantly, we have the best training staff in the league here. We have access to some of the best doctors in the world, and I think it would be in his best interest to be here for those reasons. As I said the other day, it's unfortunate he's not here. I don't think he's receiving the best advice. That's sad, as far as I am concerned."
It has been widely reported that Pierre-Paul's right index finger was amputated, but Mara conceded the Giants do not know the full extent of his injuries.
"We don't how extensive the damage is—that's the problem," Mara said. "I don't know how many fingers he has," Mara said. "We know what we have read and what we have been told, but until we actually see the extent of the damage, it is hard to make any type of prediction as to what type of condition he is going to be in.
"None of our people have been able to see him or examine him, so we have no idea what type of condition he is in. All we know is what some of his people have told us, but until we see him for ourselves, that doesn't give us any comfort."
Giants players arrive at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center
Mara was asked if he has an idea when Pierre-Paul might report to camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. "None," he said.
That has not lessened the organization's desire to provide JPP with the best medical care, or for him to return to the team.
"Our first concern is for his well-being," Mara said. "Is he getting the right amount of medical care and proper therapy? I know he will get that here. I assume he is getting it down there, but I don't know that for sure."
A further complication is that Pierre-Paul, whom the Giants designated as their franchise player, has not signed his one-year tender. So technically, he is not on the roster. In addition, the Giants will not discuss a long-term deal with JPP until they see him.
"We had made an offer to him some time ago, which we never really got a response to," Mara said. "Obviously, that is not on the table right now. Nothing is on the table until we see him."
All of which means the Giants are in a wait-until-they-see-JPP mode.
"I hope he chooses to return," Coughlin said. "Hey, we're all concerned about the young man, first and foremost, but it is difficult to extend this concern when we feel like he should be here. … I am concerned about him as a young man and anxious to know exactly what he's dealing with, and then we will know what we're dealing with."
"I think we have to plan on moving ahead without him at this point," Mara said. "Until we see him and make some sort of determination on the condition he is in, I don't see how we can count on him, certainly not for the opening of the season."