Football players face tons of adversity in their career.
From injuries –to being cut – to coaching changes – learning to adapt is part of most players’ careers.
Losing part of your hand to a fireworks injury is not normally one of the things players have to deal with, but for new Bucs defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul it was a reality, but one he bounced back from and taught him who he is as man.
“I’ll tell you what, being at your highest peak in the NFL, about to get a big contract and you think everybody is to the top and I’m at the top of my game, about to be a free agent and something like that happened – unfortunately it happened – it’s kind of sad,” Pierre-Paul said. “But, at the same time, like I always say, I never, ever doubted myself that I would not play football again. I returned back and I had one goal; one goal was, I’m not missing a season and I came back and actually finished that season. And then, coming back, this was actually my first game – I think Tampa Bay was my first game back and I did pretty well against y’all. Like I said, from that point I just knew that nobody can really touch me when it comes to this sport. In order for me to not play this sport, you’ve got to take both of my legs and even then I’ll still try to find a way to play.”
JPP says he gets emotional when talking about his hand injury. pic.twitter.com/YStxiaKKOv
— PewterReport (@PewterReport) March 23, 2018
That ability to bounce back – and play at a high level – was something that attracted Bucs general manager Jason Licht to the former All-Pro and Super Bowl champ.
“One of the attributes that we’re looking for in players that we talked about this offseason, [Director of Player Personnel John] Spytek and myself and [Director of College Scouting] Mike Biehl and [Head Coach] Dirk [Koetter] is resiliency,” Licht said. “It’s one thing that’s been on our mind a lot, what we’re looking for as a quality in a player and Jason defines resiliency. To come back from what he did, it’s one of the things – it’s the main thing – that made him a big draw for us, why we would go after him.”
Resiliency wasn’t something Pierre-Paul had to learn, it came early from a daily example in his life.
“Sorry, I get emotional when I talk about my injury,” Pierre-Paul said. “Sorry. My injury, what I learned from my injury, was that I’m unstoppable, man. I thank my Dad for that because my Dad, he’s been blind for 29 years and he never complained, not once. From that, I know I’m unstoppable. It’s going to take a hell of a lot for me to get off that damn field…”