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Stevie Brown returns to Giants to bolster safety position

Giants safety Stevie Brown practices during team training

Giants safety Stevie Brown practices during team training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. (Aug. 7, 2013) Credit: James Escher

Early this spring, the Giants, a team with no established safeties, offered Stevie Brown the veteran's minimum and promptly saw him walk out the door.

Apparently it was a revolving door.

On Monday, the Giants, a team with no healthy established safeties only 13 days before the regular-season opener, welcomed Brown back from his short stint with the Houston Texans -- one that ended Saturday after Brown asked to be released, he said.

And though he was standing there in his Giants T-shirt, gearing up for another Tom Coughlin practice, a lot has changed since Brown was part of Big Blue. A rash of injuries at his position means the 28-year-old, who was seen as expendable after missing all of 2013 and injuring his foot in the last game of the 2014 season, will be anything but that come Sept. 13.

It's in stark contrast with his preseason stint with the Texans, which, he said, didn't play to his strengths (always a risky proposition with team cuts around the corner).

"Pretty exciting, just being able to come back here," Brown said. "It seemed like a position in need, so it's a good fit and it's definitely pretty exciting to come back."

Victor Butler, who was to miss the first four games of the season while serving a suspension, was cut in a corresponding move.

Brown signed with the Giants in 2012 and had a big year, being twice named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week and making eight interceptions, second in the NFL. His 307 interception return yards were a franchise record.

But a torn ACL cost him the 2013 season and he struggled to regain his form the next year. He started eight games in 2014, making 36 tackles. The foot injury that capped that season required surgery.

"I'm good," Brown said. "I'm healthy -- being able to get back down on the field when I was down there. I hit the ground running and I've felt good ever since. No setbacks."

The Giants were especially hurting for help after season-ending injuries to Bennett Jackson, Mykkele Thompson and Justin Currie. Nat Behre also underwent calf surgery, a procedure that could cost him the season.

All this means that, before Brown, the Giants' safety corps consisted of rookie Landon Collins and Cooper Taylor, who played 10 games his rookie season but spent last year on injured reserve.

For the record, Brown doesn't hold any grudges -- not with the Texans, given that he asked to be released, and not with the Giants.

"I was just weighing out the options," he said. "There were no hard feelings toward here or anything like that. As you can tell, I'm back now. We definitely left everything on good terms. It was just that after weighing all the options at the time, Houston seemed like a good fit."

He'll have to adapt to new defensive coordinator's Steve Spagnuolo's system, but he's not intimidated.

"I haven't sat down and looked at the defense yet [but] one thing about defense is everybody plays a lot of the similar coverages. It's just the techniques and the language that you have to learn," he said. "Realistically, it's going to take a few days [to adapt], he said . . . I'd like to think I can come around tomorrow."

Almost as if he never even left.

New York Sports