EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- If there's one member of the New York Giants organization who's up-to-date on the condition of Jason Pierre-Paul, it's his position coach.
Giants defensive line coach Robert Nunn has been in regular contact with Pierre-Paul throughout the offseason -- before the July 4 fireworks accident that severely damaged Pierre-Paul's right hand and since. Nunn texted with Pierre-Paul just Friday morning, in fact.
"When I've talked to him, we've talked more about where he is from a mental standpoint -- just texted back and forth to let him know we're here for him, whatever he needs," Nunn said before Giants practice Friday. "And his response has been, 'Coach, I'm good. I want to get myself right, and I'll be back.'"
After practice, Giants coach Tom Coughlin said he expected he would speak with Pierre-Paul sometime soon.
Pierre-Paul was in regular contact with Nunn during the spring while staying away from official team activities and minicamp because of his disappointment over being designated the Giants' franchise player instead of getting a long-term contract. Nunn would send Pierre-Paul updates of the playbook from the new defense that coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is installing, and Pierre-Paul would ask questions in an effort to stay up-to-date.
But the entire Giants offseason took an unexpected turn with a July 4 fireworks accident that resulted in Pierre-Paul losing his right index finger and suffering fractures in his right thumb and severe burns over the rest of his right hand. He had surgery July 8 to amputate the finger and repair the thumb fractures, and he had skin grafts applied to treat the burns. At the time, he was told he needed six weeks for the thumb to heal, a timetable that finishes around mid-August.
Until that time, Pierre-Paul is unlikely to arrive at Giants camp. He has not signed his $14.81 million franchise tender, mainly because he doesn't want the team to place him on the non-football injury list and then decide not to pay him for games missed. If he waits until he's healthy to return, he takes NFI out of the picture and maintains some control over when and how much he gets paid.
But Nunn said their conversations have nothing to do with that and very little to do with football. Nunn has no idea when he can expect to see Pierre-Paul.
"Nobody knows right now," Nunn said. "He texted me just this morning, told me he's good today. I kind of keep up with him like that every day or every other day, just a text, and it's usually about something other than football. We miss him in meetings; we're busting his chops in meetings, and we kind of laugh about it, and that's where it goes. I don't know any more than that."
Coughlin has not spoken with Pierre-Paul since the fireworks accident, but seems to have something scheduled, as he kidded that he had a "premonition" when asked why he thought they'd talk soon.
"If and when it happens, I'm concerned about knowing how he feels," Coughlin said, "and why isn't he here?"
Nunn said he updates Giants general manager Jerry Reese on days he speaks to Pierre-Paul. He said he'd keep information confidential (even from the Giants) if Pierre-Paul asked him to, but that their conversations haven't gone down those roads.
"I just want to know where he is from an emotional and mental standpoint," Nunn said. "It's a tragic thing that happened, a major accident. Everybody has their beliefs on what happened, what should have happened -- make of it what they want to. But the guy went through a tough thing. That was a tough situation to be in."