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The New York Giants have officially announced that they have agreed to a 1-year contract with defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul that will keep Pierre-Paul with the team through the remainder of the 2015 NFL season. The Giants have been granted a two-game roster exemption for Pierre-Paul. During that time, he is expected to return to the practice field and begin football drills.
As has been widely publicized, Pierre-Paul suffered catastrophic injuries to his right hand in a July 4th fireworks accident, including the amputation of his index finger, the reported loss of portions of his middle finger and thumb, fractures to the thumb, and multiple skin grafts.
Pierre-Paul was designated the team’s Franchise Player in early May with a 1-year, $14.813 million tender that he never signed. That tender was reduced by approximately $6.1 million because he missed the first seven games of the season. For the last two days, it has been reported and speculated that the Giants and Pierre-Paul were working on an incentive-laden deal to replace the $8.7 million remainder of the original tender. Multiple sources are reporting that the new contract is largely based on incentives tied to performance and playing time. The hope is that he will be able to play by Week 10 or Week 12 (the Giants have a bye in Week 11).
Pierre-Paul kept his distance from the team since the accident except for a meeting with the Giants on September 7th and a second meeting with team officials that began on Monday. Team medical personnel have examined Pierre-Paul’s permanently-damaged right hand and believe he can now return to the playing field. They did not after the first meeting in September.
“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,” said Pierre-Paul. “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.”
“I feel younger,” replied Pierre-Paul when asked how he felt. “I’m just here to help the team out. I’m blessed to play the game, and I’m excited about the opportunity to play again.”
Pierre-Paul has never played for Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, so his complicated defensive schemes and terminology will be new to him. Pierre-Paul also has not practiced since December 2014. There is not much time as the Giants are almost halfway through the 2015 regular season with just nine games left to play.
“It is just good to have Jason back in our building,” said Head 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, as well as our medical and strength and conditioning people.”
— New York Giants (@Giants) October 27, 2015