What is hope? For Jason Pierre-Paul's career, this word has dual contrasting sentiments. One is the hopefulness that the immensely talented JPP will return again in 2014. The JPP that anchored the Giants defensive front as a rookie in 2011 after recording 16.5 sacks.
On the other hand, it is the uncertainty that two years of successive back and shoulder injuries has put his career in a precarious position, in which hope may be replaced by illusive memories, and stardom may be replaced by stars crossed.
Much like CC Sabathia's situation with the New York Yankees, Pierre-Paul's role on the Giants this upcoming season is undefined. A one- time captivating/reliable star is now relegated to a wildcard role, with the team unaware of what to expect from him going forward.
"We sure hope that he will get over this shoulder thing that he has going on right now and come back and be a dynamic playmaker for us," Giants GM Jerry Reese said of Pierre-Paul.
The critical word in this quote is hope.
Unfortunately it is no longer the hope of expanding and further harnessing the incredible talent that Pierre-Paul exhibited in his second season with the Giants. Rather, it is the hope he can regain his original form once again, ever again. This issue is only exacerbated by Justin Tuck departing for Oakland via free agency, only amplifying JPP's need to anchor the defensive line once again.
Of course, it is conceivable JPP can regain his status as the NFL's premier athlete and pass rusher. Despite the inconsistencies New York's defensive end has displayed with his production and health history, Reese and the Giants are still leaning on him.
"Hopefully he can come back and be a game-changing type of player for us," offered Reese.
It is extremely premature to determine JPP's status/role on the Giants this season, however, one thing is assured: nothing is assured. His ultimate role can vary from star pass rusher and key contributor, to relegation to the bench via injury or ineffectiveness.
Reese tried to shed a positive light on this offseason for JPP.
"Hopefully the offseason will give him a little bit more time to heal up," noted the Giants' GM.
Classic redemption story, or fantasies of "what could've been"?
Only time will tell.