The NFL is placing embattled New York Giants kicker Josh Brown on paid leave via the commissioner’s exempt list, two people with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports.
The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the league had not announced a status change for Brown, whom the Giants left home from their trip to London to play the Los Angeles Rams after police released documents in which Brown admits abusing his ex-wife.
The move allows the Giants to sign veteran kicker Robbie Gould to take Brown’s place without releasing another player to clear a roster spot — which would have been a bad look for everyone involved, given the team’s decision not to cut Brown immediately.
The exempt list is the mechanism the NFL used — with players’ consent at the time, prior to the implementation of the league’s updated personal conduct policy — to take Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and then-Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy off the field amidst their legal troubles during the 2014 season.
The current conduct policy says paid leave is an option for anyone charged with a crime of violence or if an investigation “leads the Commissioner to believe that you have violated this policy” by committing such conduct.
The NFL said Thursday it is reopening its investigation of Brown based on allegations in the documents, which it requested from the King County (Wash.) Sheriff’s office shortly after Brown’s May 2015 arrest for fourth-degree domestic violence assault, but didn’t receive until they were released to the public Wednesday afternoon. The charges were dropped in August.
Brown served a one-game suspension to start this season after losing an appeal.
Follow Tom Pelissero on Twitter @TomPelissero