Josh Brown placed on Commissioner Exempt List

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  • By Around The NFL staff NFL.com
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A day after the NFL reopened its domestic violence investigation of Josh Brown, the league officially placed the embattled New York Giants kicker on the Reserve/Commissioner Exempt List, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.

Brown was notified of the move in a letter from Adolpho Birch, NFL's Senior Vice President of Labor Policy and League Affairs. In the letter, which was obtained by Rapoport, Birch states the reason for the league reopening its investigation.

"The released materials appear to contain information regarding other incidents of abuse separate from the May 22, 2015 incident for which you were disciplined under the Personal Conduct Policy," Birch wrote. "As a result, further investigation by the league into those separate incidents is needed."

The embattled kicker, who served a one-game suspension for the domestic violence incident before coming under fire again after additional documents detailing the extent of the alleged abuse were uncovered this week, will no longer be part of team activities until the NFL and Giants complete their investigations or remove him from the list.

Birch informs Brown in his letter that he will remain on the Commissioner Exempt List "on a limited and temporary basis to permit the league fully to review the materials and determine whether further action is necessary.

"We expect to conduct this review expeditiously and make any appropriate adjustments to your roster status in a timely manner."

In response to the league's letter, the NFLPA said in a statement, "The NFL has the ability to place a player on the exempt list and the player has the right to appeal that decision, if he chooses. The League office wanted unilateral control of this process and accordingly, their system lacks transparency."

The move will open a place on the Giants' roster for kicker Robbie Gould, who agreed to terms on a deal with the Giants to kick in Sunday's game in London. Brown will still collect his $1.15 million salary and has the option to appeal the decision.

This week, NFL.com obtained more than 165 pages worth of documents from the King County (Washington) Sheriff's Office which detail Brown's arrest. It includes a signed document in which he admitted to physically, verbally and emotionally abusing his then-wife, Molly Brown. Further documentation obtained Thursday details Josh allegedly violating a restraining order, three 911 calls Molly made and the difficulty prosecutors encountered in trying to get her to cooperate with them in their investigation.

"We did some of our own investigation," Giants co-owner and president John Mara said on Thursday. "Most of the investigation was done by the NFL. They made the determination to suspend him for one game. Obviously, the law enforcement made the decision not to prosecute him, so based on the information we had at the time, as I said at the time, we were comfortable with our decision. Obviously, there's been some new information that has come to light over the last day. We don't have all of that information yet but based on what we did have, we felt the best course of action was to make Josh inactive for this game and we'll see what the future brings."

The Commissioner Exempt List provides a roster refuge for players currently in unusual circumstances. Most famously, it was used during the Adrian Peterson saga back in 2014 and is controlled at the discretion of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. There is no word on how long Brown will spend on the list.

Brown, 37, was arrested in May of 2015 which started the clock on a 10-month NFL investigation into the matter. Citing difficulty to obtain information and the fact that charges were dismissed by the local prosecutor initially, Brown only had to sit out the season-opening win over the Dallas Cowboys.

"We were obviously disturbed by it," Mara said. "But based on what we knew, and particularly based on this young man's attempt to try to rehabilitate himself, which I believe he's still trying to do and he's made a good faith effort to do that as far as I know over the past couple of years, we were comfortable with his decision to continue to employ him. In light of the new facts that have come out now, we've made the decision, at least for this week anyway, to make him inactive. I can't answer now what the future holds for him. I think we need to gather more information and make as intelligent a decision as we can."

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