EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Recent surgery on the mangled right hand of New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul went well, and he hopes to play next season without a ''club'' on it.
Speaking for the first time since signing a one-year contract, Pierre-Paul wasn't specific Tuesday in discussing the fireworks injury. He did not say whether his dexterity has improved since surgery, and he isn't sure what he will wear on the hand.
''I am doing everything possible to get my hand in the best position to play football,'' he said. ''I am still doing rehab to this day even when I go back to New York I will still be doing rehab. I am going to be doing rehab for the rest of my life, but it is nowhere close where I need it to get right now. But at the end of the day it will be before the season starts.''
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Pierre-Paul said he can lift weights, close his hand and grip. But he never drew a comparison between what he can do now and what he was able to do last season after the July 4 accident.
''My surgery turned out pretty well,'' he said.
Pierre-Paul could generate pressure on quarterbacks last season. Making tackles was problematic because of the big bandage. His right index finger was amputated and his thumb and middle finger were severely injured. He did not answer when asked if he would need more surgery.
Pierre-Paul plans to attend the team's offseason training sessions. The 27-year-old end said staying with the Giants for at least a year was his best option since he did not have to learn a new defense. He also felt he had unfinished business since he played in only the final eight games last season.
''We have a whole new team and starting with myself I have to be that guy that is on that line and is going to produce so I am doing everything that is possible on my end to make me a better player so I am going to have no regrets,'' he said.
Pierre-Paul he is excited about the free-agent signings of defensive linemen Olivier Vernon and Damon Harrison, cornerback Janoris Jenkins and linebacker Keenan Robinson, but he said his focus is getting himself ready for the season.
He said he spoke with Vernon for about 30 minutes the day before the former Miami Dolphin pass rusher signed with the Giants, but the conversation was about the organization rather than him being a recruiter.
Vernon signed a five-year, $85 million contract with the Giants. Pierre-Paul agreed to a one-year deal that could earn him as much as $10.5 million in a season in which he hopes to show he can one again be one of the NFL's top defensive end.
''At the end of the day, I am more worried about myself,'' Pierre-Paul said. ''It starts with yourself first when you play football. You have to do all the right things and put yourself in the best position before the season starts. I think a person of his caliber is going to get the job done.''
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