EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Up on a podium, Jason Pierre-Paul can’t stand still during an interview session. It’s the same kind of energy he brings to team meetings, the locker room and most importantly, on to the field.
Pierre-Paul has rapid-fire answers for just about anything he is asked, from the state of the New York Giants’ defensive line to his own health to some missing teammates. Pierre-Paul knows one thing for sure: Success for the Giants’ defense will depend a whole lot on his having a bounce-back season.
Not since the 2012 season has Pierre-Paul felt as good as he does now. He sees 2013 as a lost year even though he played in 11 games. When a sackmaster gets to the quarterback only two times, that’s pretty much a waste of time.
“First, I didn’t have a training camp last year,” said Pierre-Paul, who was plagued by shoulder and back problems. “But I’m feeling great. I feel like my normal self. I’m running around, getting to the quarterback, stopping the run. I’m awesome. I’m at 110 percent really.”
Uh, Jason, 110 percent? Where did the other 10 percent come from?
“My mind,” he replied, drawing laughs. “I’m 110 percent I’m not worried about anything. My main goal is to start the season off healthy, which I am, get some preseason games in, and play some football. I feel like I’ve been out for a year.”
Heading into his fifth pro season, he can only point to 2011 as notably productive: 161/2 sacks. The Giants also won the Super Bowl that season.
But when he’s on his game, Pierre-Paul, 25, is a force. He has speed and strength to threaten quarterbacks, plays the run well, and enlivens his unit with his upbeat attitude.
BROWNS: Quarterback Johnny Manziel acknowledged he has “made some rookie mistakes” during the offseason, but doesn’t think his partying has hurt his chances of winning a starting job.
“For me, my main thing is, people within this building, my teammates, the coaching staff, the higher-ups in this organization, we’ve all been on the same page,” he said on the eve of Cleveland’s first training camp practice. “We’ve all been good and very eager to be moving forward.”
The former college star enters his first camp as Cleveland’s No. 2 quarterback behind Brian Hoyer.
BUCCANEERS: Two-time Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks abandoned his bid to get back on the field with Tampa Bay, as the sides mutually agreed to “part ways” after two disappointing seasons in which the 29-year-old offensive lineman appeared in just nine games after signing a five-year, $47.5 million contract in free agency.
PANTHERS: Quarterback Cam Newton said while his surgically repaired ankle is getting better, it’s not completely healed.
The Pro Bowl player participated in his first full practice since undergoing surgery in March. He looked sharp throwing passes but struggled with his timing on handoffs.
COLTS: Running back Vick Ballard was carted off the field with a lower left leg injury, and doctors are waiting for MRI results to confirm the diagnosis.
Ballard ran for 814 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie in 2012, then had 13 carries for 63 yards in last year’s season opener before a season-ending knee injury.
• Team owner Jim Irsay is awaiting a decision from Commissioner Roger Goodell about a possible punishment following his March arrest on charges of driving while intoxicated and driving with a controlled substance in his body.
COWBOYS: A judge in Decatur, Alabama, convicted linebacker Rolando McClain of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, and imposed an 18-day jail term that could interrupt the player’s bid to restart his career.