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Giants owner John Mara ‘comfortable’ with signing of Josh Brown

New York Giants kicker Josh Brown was suspended for one game by the NFL over domestic violence charges. (Kathy Willens / Associated Press)
New York Giants kicker Josh Brown was suspended for one game by the NFL over domestic violence charges. (Kathy Willens / Associated Press)
By Jim Hague Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – A visibly shaken Giants owner John Mara said Wednesday he was fine with the NFL’s suspension of placekicker Josh Brown for one game, despite allegations Brown abused his ex-wife as many as 20 times prior to the Giants signing Brown to a two-year extension last spring.

“Based on the facts that were placed in front of us, we’re comfortable with our decision to re-sign Josh and the league’s suspension,” Mara said in an emotional address to the media while his team practiced. “The easiest thing for us to do would be to get a new kicker. We’re trying to be fair to Josh. The easiest thing would be to say, ‘terminate him, get rid of him.’ We’re trying to do the right thing. It’s not always easy.”

The 37-year-old Brown was arrested in May 2015, when he allegedly grabbed his ex-wife Molly by the throat and held her down with his knee in their Woodinville, Washington, home. Brown was charged with fourth-degree domestic assault. Five days later, the King County prosecutor’s office dropped the charges because of insufficient evidence. It was reported that Brown’s ex-wife dropped the charges.

After the NFL hit Brown with a one-game suspension instead of the six games mandated by the league’s new personal conduct policy, Molly Brown told media she was physically accosted at least 20 times, including once when she was pregnant in 2009.

Mara said Wednesday he was aware of the entire situation – and still sticks by his embattled kicker.

“When we made the decision to re-sign Josh, we were certainly aware of the arrest,” Mara said. “We were also aware of the circumstances involved. The charges were dropped. Nothing has happened to make us change our position. We did our due diligence.”

Brown signed a two-year, $4 million contract last spring, one that included a $500,000 signing bonus and $1 million guaranteed. Mara said he was privy to the information the NFL had collected on Brown.

“We’re aware that there were allegations against Josh,” Mara said. “We knew that the NFL would conduct an investigation. We’re well aware that there were other (incidents). One of the things you learn is that there is a big difference between allegations and convictions. It’s important to sort all those things out. We’re not going to get into the number of conversations we had with a number of people. We will live with the results of the (NFL investigation) and move forward.

“A lot of time, people try to make it black and white,” Mara added. “There are two sides to everything. Very rarely you have a Ray Rice video.”

Mara referred to the video of the former Baltimore Ravens running back punching his now-wife in the face and knocking her out in an Atlantic City casino elevator, a punch that has essentially ended Rice’s football career.

Mara said he was reluctant to even address the situation, but felt the need.

“I hesitated to get into it, because it is such a sensitive and difficult decision,” Mara said. “We had a lot of facts presented to us. We did our homework here. Nothing is going to be said to change that decision.”

The Giants signed former Jets and Titans kicker Randy Bullock to a one-year contract Monday after a tryout. Bullock will be the kicker while Brown serves out his suspension against Dallas in the season opener Sept. 11. Mara didn’t want to speculate what happens when Brown is ready to return.

“It’s going to be a football decision,” Mara said. “It’s going to be decided on the field.”

Special teams coordinator Tom Quinn said he was fond of Bullock.

“We always liked him when we faced him,” Quinn said. “We’re always open for competition.”

Quinn said Brown was stoic in his approach, even after the Giants brought in Bullock.

“Josh has been the same type of guy,” Quinn said. “He doesn’t seem different.”

Brown had a Pro Bowl season last year, connecting on 30 of 32 field goals and 44 of 45 extra points for a career-high 134 points.

Mara said that Brown has handled the situation well.

“Josh knows what’s expected of him,” Mara said. “He’s been going to counseling. He’s been a good citizen since he’s been here. He’s going to conduct himself in a professional manner. We’re an organization that has always tried to do the right thing. It’s not always easy, but we’re going to stick with our decision.”

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