Jason Pinnock, Giants safety, practices during at Quest Diagnostics Training...

Jason Pinnock, Giants safety, practices during at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, NJ on Wednesday, July 26, 2023. Credit: James Escher

A day later, Jason Pinnock still was basking in the spotlight of his one-handed interception heard ’round the football world.

Why shouldn’t he?

This highlight had legs. Major did-you-see-that-pick? legs.

Yes, even in training camp.The play was the last of Sunday’s Giants practice, and on Monday, players and coaches still were talking about what the safety did.

The Giants were in an “extra competition period.”

Little did anyone know what this “extra competition” would look like.

Pinnock, in his second year with the Giants after the Jets drafted him in the fifth round in 2021, was positioned in front of tight end Darren Waller, the star of camp.

Waller, who has caught almost everything thrown his way, is a matchup nightmare. He runs like a deer and has every bit the catch radius you would expect from a 6-6 tight end.

As Daniel Jones threw the pass, Pinnock leaped, contorted his body and made the backhanded interception.

With only his right hand.

Then he came down, waited a beat and tossed the ball high in the air.

The reaction: Pandemonium.

Defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence told Pinnock that he’d had a sack on the play. After seeing video of the interception, he reconsidered.

“Forget my sack,” he told Pinnock, “that was a pick.”

Said Pinnock, who clearly was enjoying the moment: “I agreed with him.”

Coach Brian Daboll described the play as “pretty impressive, particularly when you pause it at the high point where he’s got it.”

Yes, Daboll paused the tape.

“We were watching it as a coaching staff,” he said. “I mean, it was a good play.”

One that almost didn’t happen.

With practice ending, Daboll said the leaders on the team requested to run one more play. “An impromptu deal” is how the coach described it.

So, of course, they ran one more play.

And what a play it was.

Pinnock said defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s response was: “That’s how you make a play. That’s how you make a play.”

Said Pinnock: “It was crazier than what I thought. It was a little wild. It was cross-body. It looked dope. It looked cool. I ain’t gonna lie. I’m not going to hype myself up, but it was a hell of a catch.”

It’s the most talked-about one-handed catch by a Giant since Odell Beckham Jr.’s in 2014.

Pinnock’s grab took on a life of its own on social media, of course. The online reactions were incalculable. Among the commenters was his former University of Pittsburgh teammate, current Buffalo Bill Damar Hamlin.

Pinnock said he heard from his former college coach, Pat Narduzzi, and former teammates as well as friends from his Connecticut high school. Pinnock has made interceptions before, but making the play against Waller was a whole different feeling.

“I guess [because of] the setting, since it was against the best tight end in the country,” he said.

Teammates, Pinnock said, were mostly speechless.

Another said, “Dang, I didn’t know you had that in you.”

What about Waller?

“He just kept hugging me,” Pinnock said with a laugh. “He said, ‘Bro, you didn’t have to do that, you didn’t have to do that.’ He just kept saying that in my ear.”

After practice, as Pinnock joined teammates in the cold tub, he said he told them, “I’m getting the best work I’m going to get. I’m not going to face [another] tight end like Waller. This is the best work.”

Nearly a week into camp, Giants players and other observers continue to be wowed by the Waller Effect. And it’s not just his catch radius.

“He’s extremely long and then [there is] his stride length,” Pinnock said. “Every other [defensive back] who’s 5-11 or so has to probably take two whole strides for his one. So you’re playing catch-up the whole time. He’s a tight end who’s a deep-threat guy, a great back-shoulder guy.”

For Pinnock, a challenge remains. He received first-team reps on Monday, a promising sign, but there still is a starting safety job to compete for and potentially win.

“I’m taking every day as a new opportunity,” Pinnock said. “From the meeting room to walk-throughs, to each rep, each team period, each 7-on-7. I’m just trying to be the best on each rep. In the end, it’ll come out. Obviously, you know my goal. I want to be out there” with the starters.

He said he’s always been confident. That comes from his dad coaching him from an early age.

“He coached me for 10 years, he put my first helmet on, and I walked across the stage with it,” Pinnock said. “That’s my guy. After [the interception] he called.”

What did Dad say?

“Great catch, but it’s about what you do tomorrow.”

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