Here's Tom Coughlin on losing Pierce:
"Our concern is for AP and we're here to support him," Coughlin said through the Giants' PR department. "He is very disappointed and our thoughts are about his well-being right now.
"We won't have AP on the field, but we'll have his heart and his leadership on the sidelines to rally the troops. The other members of the defense have got to reach down and play harder, faster, better."
Pierce also put out a statement through Twitter that says more than anything about how disappointed he is. His season could be over, as well as his Giants career.
"Thanks for ya support," Pierce tweeted. "Sorry to let ya down."
Pierce is currently the Giants' leader with 51 tackles, one more than Terrell Thomas. He had a sack, two breakups, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. But more than anything, he was the defense's leader, using his football smarts and a great study ethic to partially compensate for the speed he lost.
Bulging discs generally take a long time to settle down. He could be out for six weeks or longer, and if he decides on surgery, his season would certainly be over. Then, it becomes a matter of whether the Giants want to turn the page next year and go with younger, faster personnel. Pierce has one year left on his contract at $4.75 million. If the NFL's collective bargaining agreement lapses after the season, as is expected, 2010 would become an uncapped year, and the Giants might want to save that money for a free agent buy.
In other words, there's a very good chance Giants fans have seen the last of Pierce in the long run. In the short term, Chase Blackburn will probably take over at middle linebacker, providing a younger player than the 31-year-old Pierce, but hardly as savvy. If Blackburn needs to come out, Jonathan Goff would be the next option in the middle, as would strongside starter Danny Clark.