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Stevie Brown back with Giants, Cruz, Ayers probably sidelined for last preseason game

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EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey — Safety Stevie Brown is back with the New York Giants.

The Giants re-signed Brown on Monday in a move to shore up a position that has been decimated by injuries.

Since training camp opened, rookies Landon Collins (knee), Mykkele Thompson (Achilles tendon), free agent Justin Currie (broken leg), and veterans Bennett Jackson (knee), Nat Berhe (calf), Cooper Taylor (foot), and Josh Gordy (hip) have been hurt.

Collins, a second-round draft choice, and Taylor returned to practice last week and played against the Jets on Saturday night.

After playing with the Giants the past three seasons, Brown signed with Houston as a free agent. He was released on Saturday.

In other injury news, Victor Cruz (calf) hopes to practice next week and defensive end Robert Ayers Jr. is uncertain when the injury in the area of his ankle will allow him to play. He was hurt in pre-game warmups.

"Pretty exciting just being able to come back here," Brown said of his return. "It seems like a position of need and it is a good fit (so) definitely exciting to come back."

Brown, who was coming off a foot injury last season, said he asked the Texans to be released after realizing that he probably would not make the team.

How quickly Brown can help the Giants remains to be seen. Coach Tom Coughlin switched defensive coordinators after last season and the unit is learning a new system under Steve Spagnuolo.

"I haven't actually sat down and looked at the defense yet but one thing about defense is, is that everybody plays a lot of similar coverages so it is just the techniques and the language that you have to learn," said Brown, who had eight interceptions in 2012.

While Brown is back, the Giants continue to wait for Cruz, who is coming off his second major knee surgery in two seasons.

Cruz hurt his calf in practice almost two weeks ago and he has yet to return. He will not play on Thursday in the final preseason game against the New England Patriots, so he faces the prospect of heading into the season opener against Dallas on Sept. 13 without testing his knee.

"Nothing has been set in stone, in terms of playing that first week or not playing that first week," Cruz said. "I'm still excited for Week 1 — that's still the goal, that's still the plan, in my opinion."

Cruz said the swelling in his calf has gone down, but the trainers are being very cautious. They have told him not to jog with the hope being he can start practicing on Monday. He is not worried about the time he missed.

"I know the offense, I know all the things that I've done since I started playing football — catching the ball, running routes, and all of those things like that," he said. "So I still think I'm right there. Just things happen, just a small setback. I'm just anxious to get through this and make it out the other end."

Ayers was scheduled to play against the Jets on Saturday night until he was hurt in warmups. The seven-year veteran said the injury was in the area of his ankle, but he refused to say how it happened. He said he was embarrassed by the injury, but noted that he was not doing something he should not have been doing when he was hurt.

"I say embarrassed because I wasn't able to go out there with my teammates," Ayers said. "I look at it and (say) "Robert Ayers hurt in pre-game warmups," to me, I know how I view things, and if it happened to someone else I would question their toughness. It puts me in a situation where I am questioning my toughness."

Ayers said his injury was day to day. He did not seem concerned about being ready for Dallas.

To make room on the roster for Brown, the Giants released linebacker Victor Butler, who was facing a four-game suspension at the start of the season for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing substances.


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