With 9:03 remaining in the fourth quarter, Gramatica lined up to kick an extra point after QB Brad Johnson connected with TE Dave Moore for the Bucs' fourth touchdown of the game from 4-yards out. But after Gramatica made the extra point, he was in obvious discomfort.
"Martin pulled a hamstring," said Bucs head coach Tony Dungy. "It's going to be tough. We are going to have to look at making a roster move next week. As of right now, it doesn¹t look good. He is in a lot of pain."
Although Gramatica's injury was probably the only negative thing to come out of Tampa Bay's 41-14 win over New Orleans, the entire team had fun watching Bucs SS John Lynch take over kicking duties for Gramatica.
"The biggest problem I had was teeing up the ball" said Lynch. "When I was kicking in high school we used the two-pronged tee. Now, with all of the technology, I had no idea how to put the ball in that thing. The play clock almost ran out on the first kick and then Martin told me I had the tee backwards. They called that first one a hook but I prefer to call it a draw. The third time Martin coached me up a little bit and I got some hang time on the ball."
Although Lynch had the opportunity to kickoff three different times (one had to be rekicked), the job should have been DT Warren Sapp's.
"It was my job to kick," said Sapp. I took my pads inside and put some ice on my shoulder. No one knew Martin was hurt until it was time to kick off. Marciano came up to me and said, You are going to kick the ball off¹. I looked at him and said, 'Are you crazy?' I don¹t have my pads on and you¹re going to have to get someone else¹. Lynch took over and did a good job for us.²
Tampa Bay did not audition any kickers in training camp or preseason, but P Andrew Bayes did handle kickoff duties for Gramatica in a few of the Bucs' preseason games in August. The Bucs will likely make a decision on signing another kicker sooner rather than later.
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