Jason Pierre-Paul of the New York Giants answers questions from the media during Media Day ahead of Super Bowl XLVI against the New England Patriots at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 31, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
New York Giants fans know the Jason Pierre-Paul story. They know that the All-Pro defensive end was a high school basketball player who turned to football only at the insistence of his high school coaches. Pierre-Paul addressed that topic Tuesday during the 2012 Super Bowl Media Day festivities.
I started out playing basketball and broke my leg. I then went to football my junior year, and I think it was the playoffs-Coach Greg Minnis, to this day I thank him, Coach (Manny) Martin, Coach (Art) Taylor - those are the coaches that helped me out and convinced me to play football. I never thought of playing football. They dragged me onto the field. I didn't know what I was doing. All they said was rush the quarterback, basically, and that's what I did from there on out."
Giants fans should thank those coaches, as well.
Two years into his NFL career Pierre-Paul has become one of the NFL's most dominating defensive lineman. He had 16.5 sacks this season, just his second in the league after being drafted out of USF in the first round in 2010. There are many who are amazed by what Pierre-Paul has accomplished, simply because of his limited time playing the game.
I think I still haven't scratched the surface. I have a lot of potential. I'm still studying the game. I'm being a sponge to the game. I'm soaking it in," Pierre-Paul said. "Every day I learn something new from my teammates or my coach. My coach tells me a lot of things I can do. I'm just learning from him, and it's a great thing."
The unfinished product is already a terror for opposing offenses. If Pierre-Paul can stay healthy, the finished product could be something completely amazing.