Giants taking a chance on Josh Mauro despite PED suspension
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) When a new coach comes in, it’s always interesting to see who lines up with the first-team units.
Mauro knows the 3-4 system that is being installed by new defensive coordinator James Bettcher. The drawback is that the five-year veteran is not going to be on the field when new coach Pat Shurmur and the Giants open the season at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He will be starting a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
The NFL handed down the suspension days after the 27-year-old Mauro signed a one-year contract with the Giants. The team knew it was coming before signing him.
”They have confidence in me,” Mauro said. ”They are giving me an opportunity here. I just want to give them everything I have to return that favor. It means a lot to me and I want to give them everything I have.”
Mauro has accepted responsibility for using the drug. He purchased an over-the-counter supplement and didn’t know it contained a banned substance. A trace amount of it was found in a test. It was not present in a test a week later.
Mauro, who released a statement after the suspension explaining what happened, wants everyone to know that he is not a cheater.
”Once you step away from this game all you have is your name,” Mauro said. ”You can have your accomplishments, your stats, whatever else, individual or team successes you’ve had, but it’s just important for me to let everyone know the circumstances beyond that.”
He also doesn’t see a team that was 3-13 last season.
”There are a lot of positives up here,” the former Stanford product said. ”This is probably the toughest division (NFC East) in the NFL, so there are a lot of opportunities to play great teams. And just this city, it’s the ultimate football city.”
Mauro may train with the Giants and participate in training camp. Once his suspension starts, he cannot be with the team unless he is getting treatment for an injury.
Mauro, who started 26 games for the Cardinals with 75 tackles and two sacks, plans to meet with the staff before the suspension starts to get a workout routine.
While they traded Jason Pierre-Paul in the offseason, the Giants have depth at the end spot with Olivier Vernon, Kerry Wynn, Romeo Okwara and Avery Moss. They are heavy at the tackle spots with Damon Harrison, Dalvin Thompson, Robert Thomas and rookie draft picks RJ McIntosh and B.J. Hill.
NOTES: The Giants signed veteran receiver Russell Shepard, who has played five seasons in the NFL. He was released by the Carolina Panthers last week. To make room on the 90-man roster, first year cornerback Tim Scott was released. He played in one game last season.
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