It wasn’t dramatic. There was no big back story. No extenuating circumstances.
When Jason Pierre-Paul spoke for the first time about his accident involving fireworks this past summer, talking to former Giant Michael Strahan for Fox Sports in an interview broadcast on Sunday morning, the narrative was pretty simple and straightforward.
“It just went off in my hand,” Pierre-Paul said, noting that it was a different kind of “firecracker” than the ones he had been lighting for most of the annual Fourth of July celebration. “I didn’t have time [to throw it]. I was throwing them all night. And then I light the last one up and it blew off my hand.”
Pierre-Paul did dispute the accounts that he refused to be seen by Giants staffers who came to Miami to see him in the days after the mishap.
“That’s not accurate,” Pierre-Paul said. “They flew down to see me. I was at one hospital but then I got transferred over. They didn’t know I got transferred over. And I was under anesthesia. The whole time I didn’t even know they was there. Until I finally woke up and Jason Pierre-Paul this, Jason Pierre-Paul this. There was a whole bunch of he said, she said going on.”
Pierre-Paul did not account for his silence with the team from the time of the accident until he arrived at the team’s facility for the first time in early September.
Pierre-Paul was — and continues to be — the target of much ridicule. He insists it does not bother him.
“I’m in the public eye,” he said. “I’m a celebrity and a football player. People have their say-so, say I’m stupid and this and that, but to be honest, it never [ticked] me off.”
Pierre-Paul registered his first sack of the season against the Panthers on Sunday. He also batted down a key fourth-quarter pass to force a punt. But he also has had limitations in recent weeks, missing tackles that might have been made with the full use of both hands. He has played with a heavy club on his right hand since returning to the field on Nov. 8.
“Man, life is a blessing,” Pierre-Paul said of how the accident has changed his perspective. “I feel like after my incident it really made me realize football is not here forever. I’m all the more anxious to come out here and let my teammates know, ‘Look, hey, this is the same JPP. Missing fingers aren’t going to stop me from playing some ball.’ I’m only getting better from here. I’m excited.”