As recently as mid-June, New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul said he was not yet 100% and still had minor, but lingering, back issues. Fast forward a little more than a month and not only has JPP declared himself clear of all lingering injuries, but the now-275 lbs. defensive end says he's 110%.
"I'm feeling great. I feel like my normal self," Pierre-Paul said. "I'm awesome. I'm at 110%. I'm not really worried about my back or shoulder. All of that is good."
Looking back on 2013, JPP admitted that he had come back too early and wasn't ready to return to the field, which led to additional injuries, re-injuries and other lingering problems.
"I wasn't ready. But I felt like I needed to be out there because I was one of those guys who was a factor for the team. And with me being gone, it's a big difference. And it was," JPP said, adding that he informed Jon Beason not to return until he is 100%. "When you're injured you're [likely] to injury something else. Which I did."
JPP went on to add that he feels like he's been out for a year and he's just excited to start the season healthy and "play some football." However, that doesn't mean everything is A-OK in the land of the lion — an animal JPP also compared himself to on Thursday — as he admitted that his lack of a long-term contract has begin to weigh on him since the departure of Justin Tuck to the Oakland Raiders.
"I'm not going to lie… Seeing Tuck gone, it's on my mind a little bit," JPP said. "But, at the end of the day, when I'm on the field it's all about my brothers and what I do best. But when you go home, that's when you think about it.
"I still believe I'll be here next year, honestly."
Pierre-Paul is just one of a handful of Giants who former sports agent Joel Corry recently listed as being at a "contract crossroads," but the former Pro Bowler believes in his heart and mind that he'll play well enough in 2014 that General Manager Jerry Reese & Co. don't even think twice about bringing him back.
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Tags: Football, Jason Pierre-Paul, Jon Beason, Justin Tuck, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Oakland, Oakland Raiders