The New York Giants concluded their three-day mandatory minicamp on Thursday with messages of caution from head Ben McAdoo and veteran DE Jason Pierre-Paul. The players will be off for a full six weeks (reconvening for training camp on July 27), and as we all know, idle hands can become the devil’s playthings.
“Six weeks goes by pretty quick,” said McAdoo. “You just don’t want any phone calls late at night, that is all. But I trust the players in the locker room, I trust the staff, we are going to put ourselves in good situations and we understand that that NYG never comes off. It is always with us, always a part of us, the name on the back of the jersey and the letters on the front always stick with us.”
McAdoo’s departing message to the team was pretty much the same as last year’s and similar to the one that Tom Coughlin had given for twelve summer before that.
“We talked about being a pro,” he said “We have a lot of integrity in the locker room. We talked about it and we have to trust each other, but it is about being a pro and how we handle our business mentally, physically and spiritually.”
Also addressing the team was retired U.S. Army Colonel Greg Gadson, a frequent speaker at the Giants’ facility, and strength and conditioning coach Aaron Wellman among others.
The embodiment of what could go wrong during the summer is right in front of the Giants in the form of JPP, who blew off part of his right hand in a July 4 fireworks accident two years ago. He no longer puts himself in harm’s way and urges others to do the same.
“I’m pretty sure they get the picture,” Pierre-Paul told reporters after practice. “We had guys come in here, and veteran guys too that have been talking. They understand the message. We had team meetings with a list of instructions with the better opportunities you are going to get. Trust me I am living proof of it. You know 2 years ago; I probably wouldn’t even be here, but I understand the distractions, so I’m good.”
JPP says he’ll mainly be working out but revealed he will distance himself from any temptations from here on in by traveling out of the country for the July 4 holiday. Last year, he said he went to Sweden. He would not divulge this year’s destination.
Pierre-Paul is grateful he was afforded a second chance after the accident. He has bounced back to become a viable force again on the Giants’ defense, earning a four-year, $62 million contract extension with $40 million in guarantees this past March. He plans on making the best of things.
“I don’t look at my new contract as pressure to perform,” he said. “I just look at it as it was an opportunity given to me. I am going to play it out and get another one. Hopefully, I am here.”
The former first round pick out of South Florida played in the first twelve games last season before missing the final four and the wild card playoff game with a sports hernia. JPP recorded seven sacks and forced three fumbles and was clearly his old self when it came to QB pressures and hits. His best performance of the season came in Week 12 against Browns where he racked up three sacks and scored a TD on a fumble recovery.
“I think I dominated every game that I played last year,” he said. “Not just the Cleveland game. That is basically how I see it. I think I dominated every game that I had played last year. I look back on the tape and I saw a player who was just only getting better, you know, so.”
— New York Giants (@Giants) June 15, 2017
The Giants are hoping he continues to ascend, too. He said he “did everything” in OTAs and minicamp and has no restrictions physically.
“I am in great shape,” he said. “I can be in better shape, but I will be ready to go come September.I won’t say it’s the best shape. I am still rehabbing; you know doing the little things to get me better. But I will be in the best shape, you know, come the first game.”
“I think that Jason has had a nice offseason recovering and I think he is going to have a heck of a year,” said McAdoo. “I am glad that he is here. He is a Giant through and through and, yeah, we have seen him make some progress.”
JPP’s personal life has stabilized greatly since the accident. His sone, who was one at the time is now three and is concentrating on being the best father he can be as Father’s Day approaches.
“Father’s Day? I am a brand new father, that is how I see it,” he said. “You know Father’s Day is a lot. I can teach my son things, and I see my son growing, and I spend time with him. That is basically it. I am still a new father and at the end of the day, you only start being a father by learning what your child needs. Nobody can teach you how to be a father. You just can see them and hopefully you will get to be a better father…yes he knows I play for the Giants, he knows I play for the Giants. He might even know my number.”
We do, and the rest of the NFL will be reminded of it, too.