The Buzz: Colts Checking Out Kickers

ColtPower has learned that the Colts took a look at four kickers, including one that Indianapolis fans are familiar with, last week. In today's edition of "The Buzz" we take a look at two of those kickers, as well as 2005 draft pick Dave Rayner's new contract.

Two kickers the Colts brought in last week for tryouts are part of an evolving story that indicates the level of uncertainty the team is facing at that position this offseason.

Kicker Mike Vanderjagt, who only missed two kicks in the regular season prior to his season-ending miss against the Steelers, is an unrestricted free agent and is expected to draw plenty of interest. Teams like the Dallas Cowboys, who have struggled to find a reliable kicker during the past few years, are good bets for entering the bidding for his services.

The Colts re-signed 2005 draft pick Dave Rayner late in the season and assigned him to their practice squad. After the season ended, they signed him to a new 2-year contract through 2007 with base salaries of $310,000 and $385,000.

Although they released him during the 2005 season, the Colts apparently still like Rayner's potential and believe that his leg simply "wore out" as the year progressed in his first NFL season. But he'll see plenty of competition leading up to -- and during -- this year's training camp.

One of the kickers the Colts looked at last week is Martin Gramatica, the former Bucs kicker who the Colts signed late in the 2004 season as a kickoff specialist. Gramatica didn't play in the 2005 season following surgery in June to repair tears in his lower right adductor and lower right abdomen. He had been trying to kick for the previous two seasons despite discomfort from the tears, which were originally diagnosed as a hernia. Gramatica had a tryout with the Bears in October, 2005, but wasn't signed.

Another player the Colts looked at was Shane Andrus, who was the kicker for Division I-AA Murray State back in 2002.

Andrus hit 47 of his 48 extra points and 11 of 14 field goal attempts that year, including both 50+ yard attempts and 4 of his 5 from 40-49 yards out. His 52-yard kick in late November with no time remaining gave the Racers a share of the Ohio Valley Championship and its first postseason appearance in six years.

An All-American in 2001, Andrus has had tryouts at the NFL level, including one with the Bills, but hasn't been able to get on a roster as of yet. A longshot to get serious consideration by the Colts, it was interesting nonetheless that they took the time to evaluate him.

The Colts also had two other kickers work out for them last week. We'll provide you with some background on them in our next edition of "The Buzz" on Wednesday -- exclusively for our premium members.

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