Buccaneers’ Jason Pierre-Paul focused on a second Super Bowl ring

Jason Pierre-Paul went through the hubbub nine years ago during a full week in Indianapolis.

Yes, it was possible to find some hubbub in Indianapolis, when the Super Bowl comes to town.

Pierre-Paul and his Giants teammates made the most of their time in Circle City (or, if you prefer, Naptown) in the waning days of 2011 and the early days of 2012, as Indy was the site for a week’s worth of hype leading up to Super Bowl 46. Pierre-Paul in only his second NFL season was emerging as a star defensive end and he helped the Giants upset the Patriots 21-17.

This time around, Pierre-Paul experienced a much different deal leading up to his second Super Bowl. The Buccaneers became the first team in history to make it to a Super Bowl in its home stadium, and that meant the Bucs did not have to leave Tampa for the week. No matter where the game was to be played, the Buccaneers would have stayed home for the week, as COVID-19 protocols made this the first remote lead-in to a Super Bowl. The Chiefs spent the entire week in Kansas City and did not travel to Tampa until Saturday, only one day before the game, just like an ordinary road trip during the regular season.

Pierre-Paul saw the Super Bowl hype both ways, in person on location and at home via all-remote media access. Which did he prefer?

jason pierre paul's second super bowl is a very different experience
Jason Pierre-Paul is having a very different Super Bowl experience.
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“I could care less,’’ Pierre-Paul said. “At this point in my life I’m just trying to win that second ring and put it in the books for me. With people being here, family being here, that’s OK and the way it is now and the way it was back then, I don’t even remember because it was so long ago. I’m just trying to win the game. I ain’t got time to play no games but football and that’s what I’m going to do on Sunday.’’

Few players cut through the red tape more effectively than Pierre-Paul. After eight years with the Giants, Pierre-Paul was traded to the Buccaneers and quickly ingrained himself with a new franchise. A frightening car accident prior to the 2019 season left him with a fractured neck, yet he managed to make a full recovery and play in 10 games that season. It was reminiscent of the 2015 season, when Pierre-Paul got back on the field after a July 4 fireworks accident that permanently damaged his right hand. He was able to play in the final eight games.

“Yeah, I mean it’s amazing. Jason — he’s a medical genetic freak, with the way he can bounce back from severe injury,’’ Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said. “What he did with his hand injury, but that car wreck — I was just hoping he was going to be able to walk. Football was the furthest thing from my mind, but he told me, ‘I’ll be back.’ Lo and behold, his first play back he gets a sack. He is a rolling ball of energy every single day. He’s the best guy at playing injured and being tough that I know.”

Bucs linebacker Lavonte David was a teammate of Pierre-Paul’s in 2008 at Fort Scott Community College in Kansas, where Pierre-Paul used to give David haircuts. Ten years later, they were reunited in Tampa.

“I think JPP has been the same guy since I met him,’’ David said. “Energetic guy, happy-go-lucky guy, a free-spirited guy. He’s somebody you count on, somebody you can trust. He’s definitely somebody who I can trust to come out, be somebody, be a friend on and off the field. You can expect him to be where he’s supposed to be and doing what he’s supposed to do.’’

New York Post

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