The New York Giants may be rethinking their future with defender Jason Pierre-Paul after the dominant defender, reportedly, severely injured his hand in a fireworks accident on Fourth of July.
Although neither the Giants nor Pierre-Paul have yet to make any official comment, several media reports claim that the 26-year-old had been lighting fireworks with friends on Saturday night while he was in South Florida. Pierre is a Deerfield Beach, Floida native and played college football at South Florida.
Here’s what you need to know about the alleged injury and Pierre’s future with Big Blue:
1. 940 WINZ Radio Host Andy Slater First Reported the Injury
Slater first reported the alleged injury on his twitter on Sunday afternoon, claiming that there was a “Big Jason Pierre-Paul story about to break in S. Fla.”
That wasn’t the first social media buzz about Pierre-Paul. Photos circulated on Twitter on Saturday evening of a van that the Giants standout had supposedly rented, filled to the brim with fireworks. Other tweets claimed to have seen Pierre-Paul lighting off fireworks.
Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole added that he could confirm that Pierre-Paul was injured in the accident but that the extent of his injuries were still unknown. The NFL added its own confirmation to the report on Sunday evening.
2. ESPN’s Adam Schefter Reported that JPP Had His Finger Amputated
While, TMZ, first began reporting that the Super Bowl champ suffered “bad” injuries to his fingers and thumb, it was ESPN’s football insider Adam Schefter who delivered the biggest headline on Wednesday evening, reporting that the defensive end had actually undergone an amputation on his right index finger.
Schefter continued by saying that medical sources still expect Pierre-Paul to be able to play this season, “sooner than people think.” According to Schefter Giants staff members had shown up at the Florida hospital he was being treated at to discuss his injury with him but JPP refused to see them. The team, as of Wednesday, still had not received an official update on their, potential, player’s status.
3. He’s a Two-Time Pro Bowl Selection & Battled Through Injuries Throughout His Career
The defensive end was most recently named a Pro Bowl alternate last season along with teammate Odell Beckham, Jr.
Pierre-Paul finished the season with 77 tackles, 12.5 sacks and three forced fumbles, playing in all 16 games as the Giants failed to qualify for the postseason.
Aside from potentially self-induced firework accidents, Pierre-Paul has battled through on-field injuries throughout his career as well.
In 2013 he underwent back surgery in Los Angeles to fix a disc condition that had bothered him throughout the entire season. He wrote on his website:
My back has been bothering me for a while, and even last season I played through some back issues. The treatment I’ve been doing has helped manage the issue, but this procedure is going to get me fully healthy and there should be no more pain.
4. The Giants Placed a Franchise Tag on Pierre-Paul in March
The moment had been coming for awhile, but New York, finally, put the franchise tag on Pierre-Paul this March. His latest off-the-field injury could have a big-time impact on that tag as well.
According to Pro Football Talk, the tag is worth $14.8 million and if Pierre-Paul’s injury is as serious as reports have claimed, that money could be money better spent elsewhere. Pierre-Paul had yet to sign the franchise tender but his presence on the defensive line is certainly needed. Without him, the Giants would be without a key pass rusher or a leader in the defensive trenches.
An NFL team can pull a franchise tag tender at any time, making the player an unrestricted free agent. That tag pull even includes non-football injuries.
5. He Did Not Participate in New York’s OTA’s Earlier This Year
In addition to not yet signing his franchise tag, Pierre-Paul was noticeably absent from the Giants voluntary organized team activities this May.
Reports suggested that Pierre-Paul had stayed away from OTA’s for personal reasons but others had speculated that his absence was because he was less than pleased at the prospect of being tag’ed by the team.
Pierre-Paul was, however, required to attend the Giants’ minicamp and while head coach Tom Coughlin had expected him there, the defensive end did not show.
According to NJ.com, since Pierre-Paul had not yet signed his tender, he was not, technically, on the Giants roster and therefore did not face any kind of financial downside to skipping out on camp.