Jason Pierre-Paul’s road back to seeing NFL action is complete.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers activated the linebacker on Saturday, less than six months after he was involved in a serious car accident that fractured his neck. Pierre-Paul will play Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, marking an incredible comeback for the 30-year-old.
Pierre-Paul sustained the injury when his Ferrari spun out on I-95 in South Florida and hit a median. He did not opt to have surgery, which would have ended his season. Instead, he let his neck heal — and he is expected to be back on the field in less than half a year.
Another comeback for Jason Pierre-Paul
Pierre-Paul has taken part in practice in recent weeks, gradually ramping up to get back to game speed. When asked about coming back from a broken neck, the linebacker — who infamously blew up his hand in a fireworks explosion in 2016 — had the perfect response:
#Bucs DE Jason Pierre-Paul was asked about coming back from such a serious injury— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) October 22, 2019
Q: “Not a lot of people have come back from broken necks.”
JPP: “Not a lot of people have come back from blowing off their hand too.” pic.twitter.com/P4NZWzP2HA
it might understandably take some time for Pierre-Paul to get back up to speed. But he led the Buccaneers with 12.5 sacks last season, and will immediately form a vaunted 1-2 punch with teammate Shaq Barrett, who is tied for first in the league with nine sacks.
After eight seasons with the New York Giants, Pierre-Paul was traded to the Buccaneers prior to the 2018 season. Looking to put the fireworks incident past him, Pierre-Paul instead had to deal with another gruesome injury.
But as Pierre-Paul said, if anyone can do it, it is him.
“It felt great. It's been a long journey,” Pierre-Paul said to the media Tuesday. “I've still got a lot going on, but it's been great being with my teammates. ... I feel good.”
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