DE Jason Pierre-Paul
November 4, 2015
Q: What was it like to be out there again today with the guys and what kind of progress are you making?
A: It feels great being out there. I was out there last week, but it felt even better this week, actually getting into a rotation, knowing the plays and executing my plays.
Q: Do you want to play on Sunday?
Q: What do you mean it depends?
A: I am going to play on Sunday.
Q: You are?
A: Yeah. Maybe.
Q: Youíve got to convince the coach?
A: Yeah, I got to convince him. Itís up to the medical staff, theyíre taking me slowly. As of right now, Iím continuing to do the reps out there and getting the play calling.
Q: Youíve always seemed like the type of guy who was excited about playing football. Now with everything that has happened, how much more do you feel like you want to get out there and not take things for granted?
A: Just like you said, you canít take things for granted, they can be taken away from you just like that. But Iím very excited going out there because I got a second chance to do what I love, you know? It could have been taken away, but God spared me. Each moment that Iím out there, Iím giving it my all.
Q: We see pictures of your baby.
A: Yeah, cute baby.
Q: Is that why you do what you do?
A: Iíve got a family to take care of and my son depends on me. Iím out here struggling for him and grinding.
Q: Is there anything you canít do that you could do before?
A: Itís going to be a big adjustment. This is something that Iíve got to get over, which I did get over the bad part, but playing football, thereís going to be things Iíve got to adjust to, just like my everyday living. But thereís nothing that I canít do.
Q: On the football field, the football things that you have to do to succeedówhat of those things have come back quickly to you?
A: During the time that I was not here, at Florida, Iíve been doing anything that I had to do that I was going to be out here doing. Itís not as big of a challenge as things that Iíve just got to do, like make sure I shoot my hands without having to worry or whatever. Iíve been doing that all day today and it felt great. It felt great being out there with my teammates, theyíre happy Iím out there and Iím just trying to produce for them.
Q: How tough was it for you sitting on the couch back down in Florida, the team is struggling defensively, you need to be out there to help them but you had your own issues that youíre dealing with. Talk about that struggle that you had.
A: It was hard just watching the team lose a couple of games and winning without you, but at the same time I knew what I had to do to get back on the field. But it was frustrating, but Iím here now.
Q: A lot of people look at the pass rush, only nine sacks so far, and they think you coming back could be the thing that fixes everything.
A: Maybe, who knows? Youíve just got to wait and see. At the end of the day, Iím here to help my team win. I canít say Iím going to go out there and get sacks, I donít know. All I know is I can try my hardest and promise Iíll fight for it.
Q: You definitely think youíre going to play Sunday?
A: I donít know, itís up to the medical staff.
Q: Do you want to play?
A: Yeah, I want to play, yeah. But itís up to the medical staff; like I said, theyíre taking my slowly.
Q: Part of when a guy comes off injury, no matter what the injury is, they say they want to make sure heís safe on the field, they donít want him to be in harmís way. Do you feel like at this point youíre safe enough to play a game?
A: I think Iím okay. You never know until youíre out there, thatís why thereís practices. Iíve been doing good in practice. Coming off any injury, youíve just got to go out there and have that confidence. I feel confident in myself shooting my hand and doing what I do bestóplaying the run and getting back there pass rushing. So thatís whatís going to be bring me back.
Q: Are there going to be changes in your stance or where you line up?
A: Of course, thereís going to be changes in my stance, Iím right handed. Itís something youíve got to adjust to and I think Iím doing a pretty good job at it. Had a great coach out there coaching me how to put my left hand and rush off that, so it is what it is.
Q: So much of what you have to do is grabbing or grasping, is that going to be difficult? Has it been difficult?
A: Just adjustments, thatís it. Basically just adjustments. I think Iím doing a great job at it because Iíve been able to grab and shed tackles. Itís just a big adjustment but Iím okay, Iím doing pretty good. Skillset hasnít lost it, I havenít lost it. Iím out there doing what I can. Hopefully Iíll be out there Sunday.
Q: Are you going to have to come from the left side now exclusively?
A: I play both sides. I play both sides, nothing has changed.
Q: What about this whole thing about you being a savior for this defense, is that fair? Is that a lot of extra pressure on you?
A: Put it all on me, huh? Like I said, Iím going to do whatever I can to help this team win. Iím starting off slow, Iím a little bit rustyóthatís going to happen, no training camp, no nothing. But when Iím out there, Iím giving it my all. I have no, ďI could work on this tomorrow,Ē thatís not my mindset no more. Itís do it now or do it never.
Q: How hard would it to be to play on the right side with your left hand on the ground now?
A: I still play on the right side, itís not hard at all.
Q: It doesnít affect what you can do at all?
A: No, nope.
Q: Do you have that confidence that you can be that monster, that beast?
A: I know for a fact that Iím still the same JPP--getting to the ball, screen pass, running and chasing down, getting to the quarterback, playing the run. Itís just that confidence Iíve got to get back, ďHey, my hand is okay.Ē Youíve just got to do what youíve got to do.
Q: When you talk to some players about returning to the team, itís about the comradery. What has it been like being around the guys, not just on the field but in the locker room?
A: All the guys supported me throughout my whole process. The fans supported me. There was a lot of say-so but the guys kept me doing what I had to do. Since I came back, theyíve supported me. Iíve just gone out there and given it my all.
Q: Have you thought at all about how emotional it would be for you to walk out of that tunnel?
A: I already know itís going to be crazy. Theyíve been waiting on me, Iím here, Iíve arrived. They say I canít, but I did. Itís on me.
Q: Is it special for you at all if it would be in Tampa?
A: I have some roots there, USF. Iím pretty sure people will be out there, too, but my main thing is here, walking out of that tunnel. And my son will be there, so Iíll be playing for him.
Q: Have you had to work with Joe Skiba with any special equipment for your hand?
A: Not really, just a glove, thatís it. Those guys will take care of that, they just need to put me on the football field and do what Iíve got to do, do whatís best for the team.
Q: Is that the glove youíll wear on the field or a weight lifting glove?
A: Thatís just a glove. Itís a glove.
Q: Looks like itís got some padding on the middle finger.
A: No, just a regular glove.
Q: Itís not a regular glove.
A: Well, itís not a regular glove.
Q: Was there a point where you thought, ďI may not be able to get back.Ē
A: Nope, never. Even when it happened, nope. Never thought that I wonít be back playing football. That time off, thinking about my family, that was it. When the doctors said I can play football, ďOkay, letís go.Ē
Q: Youíve embraced challenges throughout your career, so a new challenge. The idea that an opposing offense will try and come at you and challenge you, how much do you welcome that?
A: Let Ďem come. Like I said, Iím going to do what I do best and I know how to play football. They can come at meóplay the run, play the ball, Iíll be okay.
Q: Could you see them doing that, maybe running directly at you?
A: Iím out there, theyíre running at me now, itís nothing changed. If I couldnít do it, I wouldnít be here right now.