After eight seasons and a Super Bowl victory with the New York Giants, outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul was traded along with a fourth-round draft pick to the Tampa Bay Bucs for third and fourth-round selections.
As Tampa Bay and New York are primed to meet on Monday Night Football, Pierre-Paul made it clear that there is no resentment between he and the Giants’ organization – a team that’s undergone significant roster and coaching changes since his time in New York – but couldn’t hide the excitement to play his former team after missing their match-up last season due to his recovery from a neck injury suffered in the offseason.
“There’s no bad blood,” Pierre-Paul said. “This is a business, I know how the business goes, but regardless of that fact, I’m doing well, they’re not doing well. So at the end of the day you just hope that things work out for the best when you leave a team but obviously it’s not going well for them. I hope the best for them.”
Despite the well-wishes, Pierre-Paul got more passionate as he spoke about the Giants decision to move on from him a few years ago.
“You already know they made a mistake,” Pierre-Paul said when asked if he wanted to prove to the Giants that they made a mistake by trading him. “When I left there I got 12-and-a-half that year and when I came back from a broken neck I got eight-and-a-half that year and I’m having an amazing season this year. It’s not that I’m trying to show them that they made a mistake, but it’s just the fact that I knew I wasn’t washed up or finished up. So this (Monday) I have to show them, it’s my old team and we have to show them the new Tampa Bay Buccaneers.”
Now with quarterback Daniel Jones at the helm after 16 seasons with Eli Manning, Pierre-Paul is excited for an opportunity to chase a Giants quarterback that isn’t his long-time teammate. Last season Jones made his NFL debut against the Bucs, overcoming a 28-10 halftime deficit en route to a 32-31 victory in Tampa Bay.
“I’m here now, so I’m happy to play Daniel Jones,” Pierre-Paul said. “Eli’s not there anymore so I won’t have to pick him up and say, ‘Eli, you’re good.’ So I’m coming for their necks, they know that, and Jason Pierre-Paul isn’t going anywhere. I’m going to Monday Night Football and going to destroy the Giants. That’s what I want to do as an individual, but I still have love for them.”