Brown edges McManus in intense kicker battle

Josh Brown will retain the starting kick job, but he had to fight tooth and nail with young gung Brandon McManus.

Josh Brown wasn’t making any apologies for beating out Brandon McManus to be the Giants’ kicker, but he sounded almost guilty about the way things worked out.

“You build a relationship as much as you may not even want to,” Brown said on Tuesday. “It is a bit awkward, but at the same time I told my wife, ‘He reminds me so much of me. I cannot pick on this kid.’”

McManus, an undrafted free agent in 2013, came on strong during camp, impressing the New York coaching staff and sparking rumors that he might steal the job from the veteran Brown. The latter had a bit of a head start, though, having put together a solid year last season with the Giants, and McManus didn’t have too many opportunities in preseason games to separate himself. Still, Brown realizes just how close of a call it was, and thinks that McManus will be around the league for some time.

“It very easily could’ve been the other way,” Brown said. “Everything I did went up when he was here. He’s one of those guys that’s going to be a lifer. He’s going to be a 10-year guy easily. He’s got that kind of talent and he’s got that kind of head on his shoulders.”

Sure enough, McManus has already found a landing spot. After the Giants announced that they intended to waive him, the Broncos — minus suspended kicker Matt Prater for four games — came calling and offered a conditional seventh-round pick. New York reportedly made the deal to keep him away from the Eagles, who were interested in making a waiver claim, and only receive the pick if McManus is on the roster after Prater returns. The fact that a team was willing to give up any kind of value, even a low draft pick, shows how much talent the Giants just got rid of. Now, though, the job is Brown’s, and he knows he has to make good on that decision.

“I’m still a Giants kicker,” Brown said. “I just have to continue to do the best that I’ve been doing and continue to deliver. I’m going to continue to work hard so they feel they’re always in the right with me.”

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