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Miss is in the past, Gramatica says

By ROGER MILLS and Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times,
published November 3, 2001

TAMPA -- Remember the anguish that accompanied Martin Gramatica's miss in Green Bay on Dec. 24? It was a makeable 40-yard field goal with 14 seconds left and it sailed just wide right.

It could have given the Bucs a win, a division title and a first-round bye. Instead, the Bucs lost 17-14 in overtime, then lost in the first round of the playoffs to Philadelphia.

Gramatica, who will kick again at Lambeau Field on Sunday, said he put the miss behind him. "I'm not going to let that kick hang over my head. I owe it to my teammates and myself to get over it and move past it. It's forgotten. I don't think about it."

Gramatica said he learned early in his college career at Kansas State not to dwell on errant kicks. He said the miss was forgotten by the time the Bucs took the field in Philadelphia.

The third-year player who went to the Pro Bowl last season said it would be human nature for him to look at the goal post when Sunday and think about his last kick at Lambeau, but added he must show teammates that he is be prepared.

"It did hurt, but it didn't linger," Gramatica said. "I missed a kick, but I'm not going to let the kick affect my career."

DUNN TO START: Running back Warrick Dunn, who missed Sunday's game with a right hamstring strain, ran at full speed in Friday's practice and is scheduled to start Sunday.

"He's doing fine," coach Tony Dungy said. "He actually is running pretty well. His conditioning is going to be a factor, so I don't think it's going to be a situation where we're going to get 50 plays out of him. When he plays, he'll play effectively. He's running well and cutting well. We have to be smart how we use him."

OTHER INJURIES: Defensive end Marcus Jones (left elbow strain) returned to practice wearing a brace and likely will start. Receiver Reidel Anthony (right hip flexor) also practiced for the first time this week and will replace Jacquez Green (left groin strain) in the starting lineup.

"He's been fine, I think the rest did him good," Dungy said of Anthony. "From a health standpoint, he'll be okay."

The Bucs will be thin at safety. Veteran Eric Vance (lower back strain) and rookie John Howell (concussion symptoms) will not play. The Bucs will dress starters John Lynch and Dexter Jackson and backup David Gibson.

RICE MAY HAVE BEEN BILKED: Defensive lineman Simeon Rice was among at least 100 investors allegedly bilked out of between $12.5-million and $18-million by a California man, the Securities and Exchange Commission said in a civil suit. Other victims of financial schemes by unregistered investment adviser Donald D. Lukens were NBA players Bryon Russell of the Jazz and Kurt Thomas of the Knicks, Sean Gilbert of the Carolina Panthers, and former NFL players Steve Atwater (Broncos) and Eric Dickerson (Colts). Lukens allegedly induced Rice and Thomas to invest $150,000 in a limited partnership to make and market a video of highlights from The Newlywed Game, a former television show. Rice was unavailable for comment Friday afternoon and Lukens did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

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