Jason Pierre-Paul nearly quit football to work at Boston Market

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Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul didn’t have it easy growing up, with parents who were Hatian immigrants struggling to get by. And although he was a star in both football and basketball, he strongly considered quitting sports in high school so that he could help his family when his father, who is blind, was struggling to find work.

“I had a job to take care of my parents to take care of some bills at the house because my daddy wasn’t working,” Pierre-Paul said at Super Bowl Media Day. “I had to figure out how to make that all work at one time. I was working at Boston Market. . . . I told my coach, I can’t play football because I have to make money to help my mom.”

Eventually, Pierre-Paul worked things out with his manager to get a schedule that allowed him to come in after practice, which meant he would have football immediately after school, then work immediately after football, and he wouldn’t get home until after midnight.

Now Pierre-Paul has a five-year, $20 million contract, so the days of helping out the family by working at Boston Market are well behind him. But he says he’s still motivated by those days, and inspired by his father.

“Just knowing my dad, my dad never quit no matter what,” Pierre-Paul said. “Since I was born, he couldn’t see. But it is what it is. He never let that stop him.”

46 responses to “Jason Pierre-Paul nearly quit football to work at Boston Market

  1. Well good for him and his family then. I hope he is as humble as he sounds here. And good luck to the G Men this Sunday. Not so much for the Pats except I hope noone gets hurt. Other than that I have no desire to see New England win a championship.

  2. These are the kind of guys you root for. No sense of entitlement. Appreciates everything he has.

    Wish this was more common in the NFL. Instead of the spoiled millionaire athlete that has become all too common.

  3. I now have total respect for that Jets killer Jason Pierre-Paul! We should have been playing this week-end, that is until we ran into that recking ball (JPP)

  4. I am pretty sure he made the right choice, but Boston Market does have a pretty tasty cream of spinach.

  5. School~>Football~>Boston Market until Mindnight. No wonder he didn’t have good grades in HS. That’s a lot for a 16 year old to handle.

  6. kd75 says:
    Jan 31, 2012 4:21 PM
    School~>Football~>Boston Market until Mindnight. No wonder he didn’t have good grades in HS. That’s a lot for a 16 year old to handle.

    Good pick up. Too bad so many people will look at GPA and think it is the be all, end all. The majority of the time the people with the highest GPAs have NO LIVES and/or don’t have any real struggles in life outside of the classroom. JPP is a STUD and a solid young man.

  7. That’s probably the only Boston Market in the country where no customer ever dared to complain about the food. The boss must loved him. The only guy who could take a chicken out of the oven and reach over to serve it to the customer behind the counter without taking a single step.

  8. @mikeeg

    He’s from a different part of the world. I think most would agree that he doesnt look or act 10 yea old.

    Trust me if you met him, you’d be calling him daddy 😉

  9. does anyone of these guys have a normal life. always seems like either there daddy is in jail or dead and there momma has to raise ten kids by herself and has a drug problem. geeezzz.

  10. mikeeg says:
    Jan 31, 2012 4:13 PM
    He still says Daddy? What is he 10?

    That is what makes him great! He is still a kid!!!

  11. This is a great read in opposition to losers like:

    Sam Hurd, Michael Vick, Big Ben, Jerome Simpson, Ricky Williams, JaMarcus Russel, Dez Bryant, Michael Crabtree, Kenny Britt and the countless other ungrateful criminals.

  12. shiftyshellshocked says: Jan 31, 2012 4:29 PM

    does anyone of these guys have a normal life. always seems like either there daddy is in jail or dead and there momma has to raise ten kids by herself and has a drug problem. geeezzz.


    It’s pretty obvious you don’t know how to read or if you do, you didn’t actually bother to read this article.

    His father is Blind and was having trouble finding work and that is why JPP had to work to help his family. Moron.

  13. Pats fan…Liked reading this. He’s a fun player to watch. I hope the Patriots neutralize him this weekend regardless.

    Popeyes > KFC though.

  14. The Giants are full of stories like this – and that’s why when things get tough for an individual teammate, coach, or their organization – they rally around each other and win.

    There’s a reason why Reese grabs good character guys up, and passes on losers like DeSean Jackson, Dez Bryant, etc.

  15. I wish he had, just like I wish Tom Brady had pursued a career in dentistry or that Ray Lewis had become a minister. I guess you can consider that a sign of respect…or, er, fear.

  16. In related news, the NFL announces it has fined Jason Pierre-Paul $100,000 for mentioning the name of a company that is n ot an official NFL sponsor.

  17. At first I thought that they were talking about the Boston TV market. Boston being the 7th TV market. LOL

  18. I almost feel bad for laughing at the absurdity of the headline after reading the sincerity of the article and his dilemma. Good for JPP.

  19. Imagine how many talented kids that are out there that are/were in the same predicament. Not to bash the guy but he should be giving a big thank you to is old boss.

  20. As I’ve always said, Tebow isn’t the only great guy that people can root for. There are many great guys in the NFL who had to overcome real-life obstacles and to get where they are. Just b/c ESPN glories Tebow doesn’t mean that there aren’t other great people in the league. Besides at least this guy has proven he belongs in the NFL and not given to him.

  21. Reading now how cool of a guy he is makes the knife twist even worse in the gut of every Eagles fan knowing we could have taken him (or earl Thomas when every draftnik was calling them to do so BTW ) instead of “high motor” undersized Brandon Graham, and trading extra picks to do so…Nice job Howie/Andy/Joe…Cool story

  22. If I weren’t a Patriots fan I would be rooting for them in the Superbowl just to ruin bozosforall’s year. This guy’s hatred is pathetic.

  23. I remember hearing the commentator mention JPP during a WVU vs. USF and saying he’d only played one full year of high school ball, and walked on at nearby USF but was quickly put on scholarship. He played two years , was frikkin’ awesome and was only 20 i think when the Giants drafted him.

    One helluva fine draft, that. I sure wish the Steelers had made that call- he’da been a devastating OLB.

    Wish well and great luck in the Big ‘un.

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