Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul took to Instagram to issue his own public service announcement on how a Fourth of July celebration can go wrong.
Pierre-Paul lost his right index finger and badly damaged the rest of his right hand in a fireworks mishap exactly three years ago. The 29-year-old posted a few extremely graphic pictures of what his hand looked like in the immediate aftermath of the incident.
“It’s been (three years) since my accident and I can truly say I’m very blessed and fortunate to be where I am in life,” Pierre-Paul wrote. “Looking at these pictures seems unreal and crazy. How your life can change in the blink of an eye.
“One of the greatest American traditions in celebrating 4th of July is with fireworks. Unfortunately, tomorrow someone will be injured playing with fireworks. We are celebrating the birthday of our great nation. I’m glad to still be alive to show you the outcome of what happened to me. Please don’t feel sorry for me, trust me your boy fine even with missing fingers lol. Be safe out there otherwise, this can be you.”
After the incident, Pierre-Paul was limited to eight games in the 2015 season with the New York Giants and finished with one sack and 26 tackles.
The 6-foot-5, 278-pound Pierre-Paul recorded eight sacks with the Giants in 2017 before being traded to Tampa Bay for a third-round draft selection in the offseason. The two teams also swapped fourth-round picks.
Pierre-Paul has collected 433 tackles and 58 sacks and 13 forced fumbles in 111 career games since being selected by the Giants with the 15th overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft. He also started all four games in the 2011 postseason for New York, recording 18 tackles, four passes defensed and a half-sack in helping the Giants win Super Bowl XLVI.