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Giants vs. Jets Photo Gallery The Giants today reached the NFL roster limit of 75 players 48 hours early by placing safety Stevie Brown on season-ending injured reserve and releasing 14 players, including veteran linebacker Aaron Curry.
The most significant move was the loss of Brown, the team's starting free safety. In 2012, he tied for second in the NFL with eight interceptions and led the league with 307 return yards.
Brown was injured with 24 seconds remaining in the first half of the Giants' 24-21 preseason overtime loss to the Jets last night in MetLife Stadium. He returned the pick 22 yards before his left knee buckled and he fell to the ground. He was helped off the field by the members of the team's medical staff. The Giants quickly announced that Brown had suffered a sprained knee. An MRI today revealed the ligament tear.
"A nice interception, something he has down extremely well, running the ball back after the interception and I don't believe it was a contact issue," coach Tom Coughlin said on a conference call today. "It was just something that happened. I feel badly for him. He's worked hard. He's prepared himself well and been in a position where he's made a lot of plays for us. We will definitely miss him. We continue, that's what we do."
Antrel Rolle, the Giants' other starting safety, has been sidelined since Aug. 12 with a sprained ankle, but is expected back in time to play in the Sept. 8 regular-season opener in Dallas. Ryan Mundy, signed as a free agent from Pittsburgh in the offseason, has filled in for Rolle. Coughlin said Mundy can play either safety position. So will he replace Brown?
"We'll see about that," Coughlin said. "He has played well. We just have to get the people out there and get the right combination here. Ryan has played well and he certainly has proven that he can be physical and be dominant in the box. From that standpoint, yes."
The Giants' other safeties are Tyler Sash, David Caldwell, rookie Cooper Taylor, who missed the first two preseason games with a hamstring injury, and Will Hill, who is suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substance Abuse.
"Antrel (will) practice this week," Coughlin said. "We'll get him back on the field and get him working again. Ryan will be back there and again we've got some other people that we definitely want to see. Try to get to the point where Cooper Taylor can play and we can take a good look at him.
"(Hill) has been playing and playing well. He's an outstanding special teams player and he's very physical. He's played pretty well all the way along. The fact of the matter is, we're not going to have him for four games. While we acknowledge what he brings to the table, we certainly can't be lured into thinking that we're okay in any shape or form because he's not going to be here. That's a shame."
This is the second time in three seasons the Giants have lost a starting defensive back to a torn ACL in a preseason game. In 2011, cornerback Terrell Thomas tore his right ACL vs. Chicago. Aaron Ross stepped in as the starter and the Giants went on to win Super Bowl XLVI that season.
In addition to Curry, the players released today were fullback Ben Guidugli; wide receivers Brandon Collins (who faces a four-game NFL suspension at the beginning of the season) and Terrence Sinkfield; tight ends Jamie Childers and Chase Clement; offensive linemen Michael Jasper and Austin Holtz; linebackers Jake Muasau and Etienne Sabino; defensive tackle Frank Okam; and defensive backs Laron Scott, Junior Mertile and Alonzo Tweedy.
Curry, the fourth overall selection in the 2009 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks, was trying to revive his career with the Giants. He played in just two games last season for the Oakland Raiders. Curry had slipped behind Kyle Bosworth on the depth chart as the second-team strongside linebacker. Bosworth had seven tackles and two quarterback hits in extended action vs. the Jets.
The only other veteran in the group of released players was Okam, who had played in 25 games with six starts for Houston and Tampa Bay from 2008-2011.
Officially, the contracts of Curry and Okam were terminated and the other 12 players were waived.
The Giants will take the current 75-man roster to New England for the final preseason game Thursday night in Gillette Stadium. All NFL teams must reach the regular-season 53-man roster limit by 6 p.m. eastern time on Saturday.
"We're still in preseason," Coughlin said. "Certainly (Sash) is going to get a lot of playing time. Quite frankly, it's really up to the production. That goes for anybody. The opportunity is certainly going to be there, this weekend, this Thursday night (in the preseason finale in New England). We've got to take advantage of it. Those guys that have the chance, that look at it, see the opportunity, they know what's in front of them. The play time will be outstanding for them and they have an opportunity to prove what they're capable of doing. They can help themselves in that regard."
*Thomas, who played his first game in two years last night, is often mentioned as a potential safety. But Coughlin seems inclined to leave him at the nickel corner position.
"That came up in the spring," Coughlin said. "The number one thing is to get Terrell Thomas on the field and get him to where he's playing well and his confidence is up and that type of thing. That has been first and foremost on our minds. Quite frankly, we haven't thought a lot about another spot for him other than getting him out there. Getting him confident, getting him playing again. He certainly is a talented guy and we'll do the best we can to utilize all of the talent that we have. We do have one more preseason game and let's play that and then we'll make some decisions about what we're going to do going forth."
*The ankle injury Jayron Hosley suffered last night is not consudered serious and he should be on the field this week. He will be joined by Corey Webster, who has missed two games with knee and groin issues
"I think that we can get the corners back in position," Coughlin said. "Webster will practice this week, and we're hoping that we can work that out and get some stability there. I hope Hosley is able to come right back after what has not been determined as an ankle that will prevent him from working. We'll see how that goes tomorrow. Let's move on from there. Let's get these guys back on the field and see where we are."
*Asked if he foresees any changes this week on the offensive line, Coughlin said, "I wouldn't say one way or the other."
*Coughlin said, "We continue to be impressed by Josh Brown and his kickoffs and his field goals as well." Brown, entering his first season as the Giants' kicker, has made 11 of 13 field goal attempts, missing from 38 and 53 yards.