EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Robert Nunn has a special relationship with injured New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
Nunn has been the team's defensive line coach since 2010, the same year New York drafted Pierre-Paul in the first round. They have worked together the past six years, so it should come as no surprise that Nunn probably has had more contact with him than anyone in the organization since the defensive end suffered a serious hand injury in a July 4 fireworks accident.
Nunn doesn't go into much detail about what the two have said on the telephone or exchanged in texts. Most of it is not about football. He is concerned about Pierre-Paul, who now has missed the opening week of training camp.
Nunn has no idea about the extent of the injuries to JPP's right hand or when he will report.
Pierre-Paul has yet to sign his $14.8 million franchise tender, so he is not under contract. His concern obviously is that the Giants will put him on the non-football injury list until he is ready to play. It would take away the team's responsibility to pay him.
Nunn isn't interested in talking about that. In his mind, Pierre-Paul has been through a lot.
''It was a tough situation to be in, so when I talk to him we talk more about where he is from a mental standpoint,'' Nunn said Friday. ''I texted him back and forth, just to let him know that we're here for him. Whatever he needs, we're here for him, and his response has been: `Coach, I'm good, I want to get myself right, and I'll be back.'''
Nunn received a text from Pierre-Paul on Friday, saying he was doing well.
''Every day or every other day I'll shoot something at him with text,'' Nunn said. ''Again, it's all usually about something other than football. We talked about we miss him in meetings and busting his chops in meetings, and we kind of laugh about it. That's kind of where it goes. I don't know any more than that.''
Nunn talks with general manager Jerry Reese almost daily and shares information about his contact with Pierre-Paul. However, if JPP tells him something in confidence, it does not get shared.
For now, Nunn is preparing the defensive line to play without Pierre-Paul, who led the team with 12 1/2 sacks last season. The two have talked about Steve Spagnuolo's new defense and Pierre-Paul has been updated. When he comes to camp, the talks will get more intense.
''We've talked about it in our room as far a defensive line room, and that's kind of been how it is,'' said Nunn, who has no doubt that Pierre-Paul misses being around his teammates. ''We're going on and he'll be here when he'll be here, and those other guys have a great opportunity.''
Robert Ayers, George Selvie, Cullen Jenkins, Damontre Moore and Kerry Wynn have been getting most of the practice time at the defensive ends. Nunn said the preseason would determine his starters.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin hopes to talk to Pierre-Paul this weekend for the first time since the accident.
''If and when it happens, I am concerned about knowing how he feels,'' Coughlin said. ''Where is he? How is he coming along? I won't even ask about the extent of the injuries, but I'll let him tell me. Why isn't he here?''
NOTES: Offensive line coach Pat Flaherty also is short-handed with center Weston Richburg (knee), LT Ereck Flowers (hip), G Geoff Schwartz (ankle) and T Will Beatty (pectoral) all out this week. Beatty is probably going to miss the first half of the season. Flaherty refused to comment about retired center Shaun O'Hara's tweet questioning the toughness of the line because three players missed practice after a day off. ... The Giants signed rookie S Justin Halley and waived/injured WR Chris Harper. ... WR Odell Beckham Jr. admits he was caught off-guard when a section of the temporary stands buckled as he was signing autographs last week. ''... I see legs in between the bleachers and stuff like that. It's just crazy. I don't like to see anybody, any kids or anything like that, in harm's way. Hopefully, there's not another incident like that or getting put in those situations again.'' The Giants changed their autograph policy after the incident, limiting them to children 12 and under.
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