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Current, former Giants teammates expect no drop-off when Jason Pierre-Paul returns

New York Giants' defensive end Jason Pierre Paul

New York Giants' defensive end Jason Pierre Paul Photo Credit: Getty/Elsa

The bottom line is that Jason Pierre-Paul's sheer athleticism can compensate for a lot. Even a missing finger.

"I've seen him do some ridiculous things with 10 fingers," Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich said. "I'm sure he can do some ridiculous things with nine fingers."

That was the consensus among current and former Giants players who participated in Monday's Newark Mentoring Movement charity golf event at Liberty National Golf Course in Jersey City.

Pierre-Paul, the 26-year-old defensive end, reportedly had his right index finger amputated after a Fourth of July fireworks injury. He was the only one of five franchise-tagged players across the NFL not to come to an agreement with his team on a new multi-year contract before the 4 p.m. deadline last Wednesday.

"You guys look at it like he's an idiot. No, he made a mistake," Raiders defensive end and former Giant Justin Tuck said. "If you're 26 years old in New York City and you're not making mistakes, God bless you."

Added former Giant Rich Seubert: "We all played through injuries. I played through a bunch of injuries. Everybody that I know played through injuries. Missing a finger, I'm sure that's going to affect you a little bit, but ... accidents happen. I can't say I've never played with fireworks, because I have. They're dangerous."

Monday's event sought to raise awareness of the value of mentoring relationships that serve youth in Newark. Tuck had been a mentor to JPP during their four-year overlap on the Giants, a relationship that has persisted since Tuck's departure. He said the two have remained in "constant contact."

"I expect him to have a great year," Tuck said. "His stance would be the only new thing ... And JPP has huge hands. So I think he'll make up for it."

Tuck was asked whether he thought Pierre-Paul, who had 53 tackles and 12.5 sacks last season, including nine in the final five games, would be the same player when he returns.

"I think he will be," Tuck said. "I think once he gets used to playing again, then yeah. You can't deny his athletic ability. He's a terror to block.

"I see no reason why he won't be the JPP he was the second half of last year."

For the time being, though, the Giants will carry on without him.

"We would obviously like him to be there and we wish him the best and understand he's a huge part of our team," said Giants long snapper Zak DeOssie, who co-hosted the event with U.S. Senator Corey Booker, "but if JPP's not there at the start of camp, it is what it is. We've had marquee players skip training camp for other reasons.

"We can't worry about the things we have no control over. So we just have to press on. If he's not there for whatever reason, it is what it is and someone will step up and have to fill in the gap."

Some of those players include defensive ends Kerry Wynn and Owamagbe Odighizuwa, the Giants' third-round selection.

"They've really stood up and took charge," Herzlich said. "It was cool to see Cullen Jenkins do some things at defensive end, too, because they're taking the D-line and really bouncing around a lot like you saw back in 2007.

"I think they're going to be very interchangeable at the defensive line position, whether its D-tackle or D-end. If we lose JPP for a couple games, it's going to be terrible, but it's not going to be devastating."


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