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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is going to have surgery on his fireworks-damaged right middle finger after the season to improve his grip and help his tackling.
In a wide-ranging interview Wednesday, Pierre-Paul believes that he has shown in the seven games since his return in November that is remains one of the NFL's top pass rushers, saying no one on the Giants can do what he does.
The soon-to-be 27-year-old said he accepts blame for the Giants missing the playoffs for a fourth straight season, saying they would have won some close early games had he not been recuperating from his injury.
The mishap resulted in his right index finger being amputated. He is also missing the tip of his thumb and the top of the middle finger looks like a bubble.
Pierre-Paul hopes that he will need only one more surgery but it could be more. He refused to say what surgeons would do. He has played most of the season with his hand wrapped, looking like a club.
"You see on film, you can see the club is preventing me from making tackles," Pierre-Paul said. "Last week there were a couple of plays I could have played much better and made those tackles. I was limited. People see it, I see it, and once I can move away from the club, I'll be perfectly fine."
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said Pierre-Paul has made progress each week.
"I'm not one to speak for him, but it can't be all that easy when you're playing with a club on your hand," Spagnuolo said.
The six-year veteran said he would like to remain with the Giants. New York can put a franchise tag on him in the offseason.
"I'd love to be there," said Pierre-Paul, adding his knows his worth and everybody else does, too. "This is where I started. This is where I want to finish."
Pierre-Paul admitted he owes the Giants something, because they gave him a second chance after his injury.
"They know what type of player they are getting, you know, I'm just a different type of player," he said. "I don't think a lot of people could deal with what I did."
Pierre-Paul once again declined to give details of his July 4 fireworks accident.
Pierre-Paul said the Giants have work to do after missing the playoffs four straight seasons. He believes the organization will turn it around.
He said wants Tom Coughlin to return as coach.
"The guys love him and I would love to see him here next year," Pierre-Paul said.
Looking back on the accident, Pierre-Paul understands many felt his career was over. However, he drew inspiration in his rehabilitation from his father, who lost his sight before he was born.
He is confident that he will return to the form that got him to the Pro Bowl.
"Even though I am missing fingers, and half a thumb, my hand doesn't stop me," Pierre-Paul said. "At the end of the day, it's a hand injury. You really notice how much you need it after it's gone. The reality is it is not stopping me from playing great football. It only can get better from here."