The Fourth of July will mark one year since New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul forever mangled his right hand and changed the course of his NFL career. Pierre-Paul told the media Monday that there won't be any fireworks for him this time around. In fact, he won't mark the holiday at all. At least, not in a traditional way.
"I will be gone. I won’t even be in the United States," Pierre-Paul said on Monday. "Where I’m going, they don’t celebrate the 4th of July."
Will the anniversary of his life-altering accident mean anything to him?
"It will be a year. I have overcome a lot of things in my life. That will be something that I overcame and I’ll put it behind me. That will be it. You guys won’t be able to reach me," Pierre-Paul said. "It hasn’t been a year, to be honest. It seems longer, for what I had to do, but I am okay. I am good."
Pierre-Paul obviously didn't enjoy the line of questioning, but to his credit he answered the questions.
"It hasn’t been a year yet, man. I’ll sit here and answer these questions but put yourselves in my situation, you would be going through the same process. Some of you all would be down," Pierre-Paul said. "With me, I overcame that situation, I’m lifting weights, I’m back to what I’m doing and I’m loving, I’m living, I’m happy."
Pierre-Paul will play with a glove in 2016 rather than a club, but admitted on Monday that he will always be different than he was.
"I will never be completely back to normal, but I am doing everything that they ask me to do. I find ways around it," he said. "That is why I am out there today. I am lifting weights, I’m out here with the guys. I won’t say it is normal, but it is normal for me. I can deal with it."
Pierre-Paul also added that being able to attend minicamp and training camp is "going to make a big difference."
"I’m still learning the system. Every guy in here is still learning the system. We’re just doing what needs to be done, getting things done on the defensive side of the ball," Pierre-Paul said. "Coach Spags is doing a great job. There are certain things I just don’t get. I’m not saying that [Coach Spags] isn’t doing a great job, but I have to better myself at what I don’t get, you know."
Pierre-Paul only played in eight games a season ago and, due to the fireworks injury, had no chance prior to that to learn any of the team's defense.
There is no telling what Pierre-Paul's ceiling is for this season. He should, however, have a better chance to make an impact than he did a year ago.