Jason Pierre-Paul: 'It's not important to me' to be back for season opener

Jason Pierre-Paul watching a recent practice. - The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

Jerry Reese expects Jason Pierre-Paul to be ready for Week 1, but apparently JPP isn't certain.

New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is expected to be ready for the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys, according to General Manager Jerry Reese.

But apparently, Pierre-Paul is in no hurry.

The Giants premier pass rusher said it is not important to him to return in time for Week 1 because the current defensive linemen have what it take to be successful.

'At the end of the day, I'm going to go out there when I feel comfortable.' - Jason Pierre-Paul

"No it’s not important to me at all,'' JPP said, via the Post. "I already know the d-line we have here is going out and get the job done. I’m very confident that Kiwi, Tuck and all the boys will get the job done. They don’t really need me out there right now, so I’m just going to focus on my recovery and everything will be all right."

Pierre-Paul remains on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list as he recovers from offseason back surgery, and Reese said he is on pace to get back onto the field and give it a go Week 1.

But according to JPP, he is still not close to being in game-shape, and meeting a Week 1 deadline is not as important to him as making a full recovery.

"I don't know when my return will be," he said. "Right now I'm still in that stage where I know I can't go out there and perform, so I'm not going to try and rush back.."

"At the end of the day, I'm going to go out there when I feel comfortable."

It's certainly counteracts the more promising report from Reese earlier Tuesday, but it goes along with what Pierre-Paul said at the end of July when he refused to make any guarantees he would be ready for the season opener and that he was only "about 75 percent" healthy.

Following Pierre-Paul's June 4 surgery, the team gave a recovery timetable that allowed the defensive end to be ready by the Sept. 8 opener. Soon after, head coach Tom Coughlin called a Week 1 return "aggressive."

"There’s only been eight weeks, and the recovery time is probably like, two, three months (…) It’s just not right if I go out there because I’m going to mess something up, you know what I’m saying?," Pierre-Paul said. "Like I said, it’s up to me, and I don’t feel comfortable going out there, my body’s not right for that right now, you know?"

Pierre-Paul said he was "not at all" surprised that Reese predicted a Week 1 return for him.

"At the end of the day, you know that your coaches and general manager and head coach want you out there, to help the team out, but, it’s all on me, like I said. I’m focused on coming back 100 percent, not being like 85 percent, you know what I'm saying? And I know I’m going to be a big factor of the defense, so I’d rather come back 100% percent and that’s it," he said.

Pierre-Paul played in all 16 contests last year, but certainly was not as productive as he was during his 2011 breakout season.

According to Reese, Pierre-Paul was not playing at full speed last season.

"With players these days, it's hard to say (when the injury happened) because they always want to play," he said. "But he's kind of got that sway in his back, so I'm not sure exactly when he got hurt. But obviously he wasn't playing at full speed last year and we're hoping to get him back at 100 percent."

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