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Josh Brown Joins the Kicking Picture

Josh Brown noticed the cameras of May descend on the lockers of Mark Sanchez and then Tim Tebow last week and admitted he hadn't seen that in a while, certainly not with the Rams the past four years. But with the Seahawks before that?

"Seattle for sure," he remembered. "The Super Bowl in '05, you deal with a lot of media stuff. We had Shaun Alexander, John Randle, Trent Dilfer, Matt Hasselbeck. You had some guys that were in the spotlight.

"But this is a little bit more than I'm used to."

Yet Brown was the kicker for those Super Seahawks, and he can be a part of the hoopla and hullaballoo once more. All he's got to do is beat out Nick Folk and become the Jets' placekicker this season.

"I know Nick quite well," Brown said as the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center locker room quieted down to a dull roar. "We'll both handle it like professionals. We both understand the business. We'll both put our best out there and they'll make the choice that's best for the team."

From the metrics that the two kickers have compiled over the years, it should be one interesting summer-long battle. More on that below.

Folk's ridden a roller-coaster in his two seasons as the Jets' kicker, reaching his pinnacle during the 2011 calendar year when his last-second field goal lifted the Jets over the Colts in Lucas Oil Stadium in the AFC Wild Card Game, then eight months later when his last-minute 50-yarder propelled them past the Cowboys on '11 opening night.

Similarly, Brown's been around and hit his share of kicks, including just about two of every three long balls set down in front of him. In fact, he was one of the leading lights for the lowly Rams of 2008 and '09 when he became the only kicker in NFL history to hit 12 50-yard field goal attempts combined in back-to-back seasons.

"I've still got plenty of leg. Age has nothing to do with it," assured Brown, who at 33 is 5½ years older than Folk. "The only thing age affects is salary issues, minimums. That's all it affects. I'm still in as good shape as I've ever been. Obviously I'm not going to run as fast as I used to, but I don't have to run. My leg is still as strong, still as accurate, and I can still do the same things I could do when I was 25."

So then why is Brown still not a Ram? That, too, comes with understanding the business.

"It was a surprise. I wouldn't say it was an absolute complete surprise. I think understanding the business, understanding the salary issues and the position the Rams were in at the time, my salary was getting pretty heavy," he said. "I felt like at minimum I was going to take a paycuts. But it was a surprise to actually be released. Even when you think it's a possibility, you never really feel it until it actually happens."

Brown, in fact, suffered one of the unkindest of cuts, getting his walking papers on his 33rd birthday. Three days later the Jets reached out.

And now they have two of the four best fourth-quarter kickers (10-plus attempts, regular season and playoffs) in the NFL since 1991. Folk has hit 37 of his 39 field goal tries in the final frame (94.9 percent) while Brown is 66-for-73 (90.4). The only two kickers with better fourth-quarter accuracy are Matt Prater (25-for-26, 96.2) and Stephen Gostkowski (41-for-43, 95.3).

"For this opportunity to come up is really a blessing, it's a good thing," said Brown. "And what better place to be than New York?"

Unexpected bouts of Tebowmania breaking out notwithstanding.

We'll talk with Folk in the coming weeks about his take on the upcoming competition. Meanwhile, here is a "tale of the tape" between the Green & White's two experienced footmen:

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