Last year, rookie kicker Dave Rayner out of Michigan State had an opportunity to develop his skills at the pro level inside a dome. In 2006, he'll be tested by the elements as well after signing a contract to kick for the Green Bay Packers.
Rayner, a sixth-round draft selection in 2005, was released after struggling a bit with kickoff duties as the season wore on for the Colts. They brought in Jose Cortez to finish the season in that capacity, and re-signed Rayner to their practice squad. But he was released on April 3rd, along with Cortez, following the Colts' signing of free agent Adam Vinatieri.
Another former Colts kicker, Martin Gramatica, will also be heading to a less friendly kicking environment. Ironically, Vinatieri's departure from New England opened the door for Gramatica to land an opportunity with the Patriots this year.
Gramatica played for the Colts in December, 2004 as a kickoff specialist, but wasn't re-signed for the 2005 season. Last summer, he underwent surgery to repair some tears in his lower abdomen that were giving him some discomfort while kicking.
Gramatica was brought in for a tryout earlier this year with the Colts, but they opted to sign rookie Shane Andrus out of Murray State instead. Andrus and Vinatieri head into the team's offseason workouts as the only two kickers on the roster.
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