Jason Pierre-Paul has had a long nine-year wait to get back here

Jason Pierre-Paul is one of only six players on the Bucs’ roster with Super Bowl experience. He won a Super Bowl ring in 2011 as the Giants beat Tom Brady‘s Patriots.

Pierre-Paul, who was traded to Tampa before the 2018 season, now is on the same team with Brady and back on football’s biggest stage for the first time since then.

He has warned his young teammates about taking this Super Bowl for granted as none of them are guaranteed of a Super Bowl return.

“Take everything in. Tomorrow is not promised. Super Bowl is not promised for next year,” Pierre-Paul said, via Fred Goodall of the Associated Press. “It took me nine years to get back to this point. Every year I played well. I played great. I put up numbers. I do exactly what I need to do to be a great player, be elite. But that’s not going to get you to the Super Bowl.”

Pierre-Paul, who made 9.5 sacks this season to earn a third career Pro Bowl nod, has rebounded from a 2015 fireworks accident that took an index finger and damaged the thumb and middle finger on his right hand and a 2019 car wreck that caused a fractured neck.

“I been through a lot and the things I go through, I just stick with happy thoughts,” Pierre-Paul said. “My father was blind at age of 30, 31 and me being born and he having to look after me when my mom was working. He never quit. To this day he’s still happy and joyful, and happy I am in another Super Bowl.

“To those people who are facing something — six years ago I went through a hand injury, fireworks injury. Last year I had a broken neck. People say you can’t do it because they can’t do it. But you put your mind to it, you can do whatever you want to do in life. It’s easier said than done, but I never quit on anything in life. I am going to give everything I can until you can’t, knowing you can’t.”