EAST RUTHEFORD, N.J. – The Giants today announced they have reached a contract agreement with Jason Pierre-Paul that will enable the two-time Pro Bowl defensive end to report to the team and begin working toward a return to the playing field.
The six-year veteran has not played this season because of serious injuries he suffered in a July 4 fireworks accident in Florida. Pierre-Paul's right index finger was amputated in surgery following the accident. He has been working out and rehabbing in his home state of Florida.
The Giants this year designated Pierre-Paul as their franchise player. But he had not signed his one-year tender offer, and was without a contract – and thus, technically not on the roster - until reaching an agreement with the team today.
Pierre-Paul will begin working with the team's medical staff.
The Giants have a two-game roster exemption on Pierre-Paul. During that time, he is expected to return to the field and begin football drills.
"We all are excited to see Jason," said general manager Jerry Reese. "He has worked very hard to get himself back into position to join the team and work toward getting on the playing field on Sundays."
"I'm very excited to be back," Pierre-Paul said moments after signing his contract. "I'm getting ready to do what I have to do. I've been training down in South Florida with my trainer. Every day, I got up at 7:30 and lifted weights, I've been doing what I have to do to stay in football shape."
Asked how he feels, JPP said, "I feel younger."
The Giants, who play in New Orleans on Sunday, are 4-3 and sit atop the NFC East. But their nine sacks are the NFL's second-lowest total (Atlanta has eight).
"It is just good to have Jason back in our building," said coach Tom Coughlin. "You can feel his energy and his desire to overcome what he has had to endure since July. His spirit is undeniable, and he is anxious to get to work with (defensive line coach) Robert Nunn and Spags (defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo), as well as our medical and strength and conditioning people."
Pressuring and sacking quarterbacks is Pierre-Paul's specialty. In his first five seasons, he had 42.0 sacks, placing him eighth on the Giants' career list. That includes 16.5 sacks in 2011, when, as a second-year pro, he helped the Giants win Super Bowl XLVI, and was selected to his first Pro Bowl. He was also a Pro Bowler in 2012.
"I'm just here to help the team out," Pierre-Paul said. "I'm blessed to play the game, and I'm excited about the opportunity to play again."
JPP is a three-time NFC Defensive Player of the Week, and was the December 2011 conference Player of the Month.
In 75 regular-season games (49 starts), Pierre-Paul has 319 tackles (234 solo), those 42.0 sacks, eight forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, two interceptions (each returned for a touchdown) and 32 passes defensed. In four postseason games, JPP has 18 tackles (15 solo) and a half-sack.
Pierre-Paul had one of his finest seasons in 2014. He started all 16 games at right defensive end, and finished third on the team with 77 tackles (54 solo), and team-high totals of 12.5 sacks, 16 tackles for losses and 21 quarterback hits. The 12.5 sacks were the second-highest total of his career. Pierre-Paul added three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and six passes defensed.
Last season, after compiling just 3.5 sacks in the first 11 games, he had 9.0 sacks in the final five games. Pierre-Paul had a career-high 2.5 sacks among his seven tackles in a victory over Washington on Dec. 14.
Check out photos of JPP's career as a New York Giant