What was once a fun Fourth of July festivity quickly turned into a nightmare for Jason Pierre-Paul as fireworks exploded in his hand and caused him to have severe third degree burns all over his right hand. The rumors and stories came out as quick as that day. Would JPP lose his fingers? Would he lose his whole hand? All Giants fans sat in horror as they watched the report come out that their star defensive end possibly would be out for the season, or maybe even his career would be over. About a week passed, and JPP decided that it would be best for him and his career that he has his right index finger amputated as he had lost most of the nerves, tissue and skin on that finger. It was the headline for most of the summer; would Jason Pierre-Paul return to full form or would he comeback a mere shadow of his past self?
As the season crept up on us and training camp passed more and more pictures of Pierre-Paul’s hand were released. Pictures ranged from him walking in public with a large bandage wrap on. To when he was finally comfortable enough to walk around with no casts or bandages on. We then really got our first true look at the hand. JPP then proceeded to post videos on his Instagram account of him working out in an attempt to prove to the world that nothing can stop him and that he would return to the field. A few days before the first game of the season JPP and his agent met with the Giants organization to discuss an agreement on when he could return to the field of play. Pierre-Paul felt as if he was ready to return week one, but the Giants felt otherwise, so New York said to him come back in six weeks to discuss their terms again.
Those weeks passed and a struggling Giants team sat at a hair above .500 with a 4-3 record and a one game advantage in the NFC East. The Giants knew they needed JPP back badly as the defense sat at a league worst 32nd rank. The team gladly agreed with JPP and his agents that he was ready to come back. Later that day he sig ned a sack incentive deal worth up to 8.4 Million dollars this year if he eclipsed 7.5 sacks. That very next day JPP was out on the practice field getting ready to make his historic return to the field. The Giants were granted a roster exemption of two weeks so that he could practice with the team without officially putting him on the roster. A week later that exemption was no longer needed. As the Giants felt he was more than ready to return to the playing field. This past Sunday afternoon in Tampa Bay, JPP was expected to be on a limited snap count, but he ended up playing 48 of 63 (76%) defensive snaps. He also added two quarterback hits and two tackles to his season debut.
Jason Pierre-Paul returned a week early from his injury and still has seven more games to play. Who knows what else is in store for his magical return?