New York Giants
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When it comes to all things New York Giants, there's no detail that team co-owner John Mara doesn't have some knowledge of.
However, this year Mara and the Giants have entered unchartered waters thanks to the information blackout that defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, the team's franchise player, has enforced.
Speaking in front of a sizeable media crowd ahead of the team's conditioning drills, Mara admitted that the Giants know about as much about Pierre-Paul's injuries related to a July 4 fireworks accident as the rest of the world who has followed this story does.
And that, to Mara, is concerning.
"I'm disappointed he's not here. I think this would be the best place for him to be for a number of different reasons," Mara said. "He would have the opportunity to learn the defense, but more importantly, we have the best training staff in the league here. We have access to some of the best doctors in the world, and I think it would be in his best interest to be here for those reasons.
"As I said the other day, it's unfortunate he's not here. I don't think he's receiving the best advice. That's sad as far as I am concerned."
Mara has mostly let club general manager Jerry Reese handle the situation, but the co-owner did say that he reached out to Pierre-Paul in the days immediately following his accident.
"He responded almost immediately and said that he is going to be fine. I think the term he used was that it is just a little bump in the road and I will be back as good as ever. He even put a smiley face on there."
However, those words weren't enough for Mara and the Giants organization, who have insisted that they have the player's best interests at heart and want to make certain that he's being properly cared for.
"Our first concern is really for his wellbeing and is he getting the right amount of medical care and proper therapy," Mara said. "I assume that he is getting that down there (in Florida), but I don't know that. We don't know how extensive the damage is. I don't know how many fingers he has. We know what we have read and been told."
Mara, who like his father, the late Wellington Mara, has continued to run the family business like a family, said numerous times that he believes Pierre-Paul would be best served if he were to let the team's medical staff examine his injured hand.
Noting that the Giants have access to some of the best specialists in the country, Mara expressed concern about the quality of care the 26-year-old Pierre-Paul might be receiving as he recovers from having his right index finger amputated, both medically and emotionally.
"We have no idea what type of condition he is in," Mara said. "All we know is what some of his people have told us, but until we see him for ourselves, that doesn't give us any comfort."
As for the franchise tag and any potential long-term contracts; Mara did admit that the team presented a multiyear deal to Pierre-Paul that the defensive end rejected. The Giants' co-owner said that nothing is on the table until the team doctors have a chance to meet with Pierre-Paul.
"We had made an offer to him some time ago, which we never really got a response to," Mara said. "Obviously, that is not on the table right now. Nothing is on the table until we see him."
If that doesn't happen any time soon, Mara, who said once the team gets to see Pierre-Paul, then they'd be open to negotiating an understanding that might be beneficial to both parties, said the Giants are prepared to move on without their team leader in sacks last season.
"Listen, he is a great kid, and we love having him around here," Mara said. "He fits in very well, he's very cooperative. I just don't know what is going on here.
"I think we have to plan on moving ahead without him at this point. Until we see him and make some sort of determination on the condition he is in, I don't see how we can count on him, certainly not for the opening of the season."
Asked about Mara's comments about wanting Pierre-Paul with the team, head coach Tom Coughlin said, "That's been the message all along, really. It's hard to believe that he couldn't get here and take care of an awful lot of issues rather than what they're doing. But, again, I've not spoken with him and very few people here have."
Coughlin said he texted Pierre-Paul shortly after the injury, but got no response. Still, Coughlin said nothing that has happened would "sour" his relationship with the player.
"I hope he chooses to return," Coughlin reiterated. "Hey, we're all concerned about the young man, first and foremost, but it is difficult to extend this concern when we feel like he should be here. But as far as souring, that's not going to sour anything. I am concerned about him as a young man and anxious to know exactly what he's dealing with, and then we will know what we're dealing with."
Meanwhile, despite his criticisms of Pierre-Paul's handling of the situation, Mara said his message to his team's star defensive end is quite simple: "Come home. We miss you."
July 30: Entire team reported
July 31: First practice
Aug. 11-12: Joint practices with Bengals at Cincinnati.
Aug. 27: Camp ends