Ben Hartsock (Getty)
The Indianapolis Colts made two roster moves on Friday, placing third-year tight end Ben Hartsock on injured reserve, ending his season, and adding former Buccaneers kicker Martin Gramatica to the roster....
...Hartsock injured his hamstring in early August during training camp and hasn't been able to bounce back ever since. He missed the entire preseason and the team's first two regular season games due to the injury.
The team added tight end Joey Hawkins to the practice squad this week for added depth. Unless they activate Hawkins for this weekend's game against the Jaguars in Indianapolis, they'll have three tight ends on the roster for the game -- Dallas Clark, Ben Utecht, and Bryan Fletcher.
The status of kicker Adam Vinatieri became more troublesome as the team used the vacant roster spot to sign former Bucs and Colts kicker Martin Gramatica. Vinatieri sat out the fourth quarter of the Texans game last weekend with a groin strain on the same side as his kicking leg.
On Friday, head coach Tony Dungy indicated that if the team signed Grammatica, it would likely be for kickoffs as they were still hopeful that Vinatieri would still be able to handle field goal work. But Gramatica is undoubtedly a safety net in case another kicker is needed after the Colts and Vinatieri sees how he feels -- and performs -- during pregame workouts on Sunday.
Gramatica handled kickoffs for the Colts after being signed in December, 2004. But after the season ended, he was a free agent again. After not getting much interest for the 2005 season, he opted to have surgery to repair tears in his lower adductor and lower abdomen that had been giving him problems while kicking. Although he had a tryout with the Bears in September of 2005, he wasn't able to catch on with a team that year.
The Colts took another look at Gramatica early this year prior to the signing of Vinatieri. But Grammatica lost a head-to-head kicking exhibition to rookie Shane Andrus, who hit nine of his ten field goal attempts from varying distances during the workout. Andrus spent the year with the Colts until late August when they determined that Vinatieri would handle both kickoffs and field goals.
Andrus performed well during the preseason, so the move to sign Gramatica appears to signal that the Colts want a veteran presence in this weekend's game situation. But when faced with the fact that Grammatica was sent packing earlier this year by Andrus, and then didn't even make it to the final cuts in New England makes the decision very curious. The Patriots, who chose rookie Stephen Gostkowski over Gramatica on August 23rd, obviously don't subscribe to that point of view if that concern is what kept the Colts from turning to Andrus this week.
Andrus hit all three of his field goal attempts from under 40 yards during the preseason, 1 of his two attempts from 40-49 yards, and missed his only attempt of over 50 yards. One of his two misses hit the upright. Gramatica was only tested twice during the preseason prior to his release, successfully hitting one from the 20-29 yard range and one from the 30-39 yard range.