Saturday, November 16, 2002

Excitable Gramatica draws Sauerbrun's ire

NFL notebook

The Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Carolina punter Todd Sauerbrun added some spice to Sunday's Panthers-Buccaneers game when he complained about the exuberant celebrations of Tampa Bay kicker Martin Gramatica.

"The guy needs to act like he's been there before," Sauerbrun said. "He's a good kicker and I'm not going to take that away from him, but he's making other kickers look bad because of it."

Gramatica and his brother, Arizona Cardinals kicker Bill, are emotional players who react to successful field goals by pumping their fists and occasionally jumping into the air. Bill Gramatica seriously injured his knee while leaping in celebration of a field goal last season.

Martin Gramatica had four field goals when Tampa Bay won its first meeting of the season with Carolina on Oct.27, including a 47-yarder with five seconds left that won the game 12-9.

"It's like when a guy scores a touchdown, just hand the ball back to the ref. It's the same thing for him," Sauerbrun said. "I mean, come on, he's made game-winning kicks before. I think people around the league will respect him more if he just goes about his business on the field."

Sauerbrun said he wasn't necessarily focusing on Gramatica's celebration in the first meeting but on his general attitude when he makes a field goal.

"He really needs to chill out, plain and simple," Sauerbrun said. "You don't see me jumping around when I hit a 70-yard punt like I've never done that before."

BUCCANEERS: Rookie running back Travis Stephens was placed on injured reserve because of a dislocated left big toe, and Tampa Bay signed defensive tackle DeVone Claybrooks from the practice squad.

Stephens, a fourth-round draft pick who was injured during practice Thursday, had one reception for 6 yards in the Bucs' season opener. He hasn't played since.

Claybrooks spent time on Tampa Bay's practice squad last season and was re-signed Nov.6.

COLTS: Running back Edgerrin James went through a full practice and is expected to play this weekend against the Dallas Cowboys. He missed the team's last two games because of a strained hamstring and torn rib cartilage.

"He's running well, so right now it looks optimistic," Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy said.

James, who missed most of last season due to a knee injury, probably will share playing time with backup James Mungro Sunday.

Wide receiver Qadry Ismail's status still is uncertain. Ismail sprained his left knee against the Philadelphia Eagles and wasn't able to practice until Friday.

"Qadry did well and he wants to play," Dungy said. "But I'd still say that he's 50-50. We just want to make sure that he's totally ready to go."

COWBOYS: Offensive lineman Larry Allen won't play Sunday at Indianapolis, missing his fourth consecutive game because of an sore left ankle. Ross Tucker, who hasn't played since being claimed off waivers from the Washington Redskins last month, will replace him.

DOLPHINS: Wide receiver Cris Carter, who has been sidelined by kidney problems, was released from a hospital. Carter, who had been hospitalized since Nov.9, said he hopes to begin practicing within two weeks.

"I'm feeling a lot better," Carter said. "We're going to take it slow. I need my kidneys to recover."

Carter, who came out of retirement and signed with Miami on Oct.21, said fatigue, dehydration and flu contributed to the kidney problems.

JETS: Broadway Joe had some tough words for his former team.

Joe Namath criticized New York's players, saying they "aren't playing up to the caliber of high-paid guys."

Namath, who led the Jets to a victory in the 1969 Super Bowl, was surprised to learn the Jets have the highest payroll in the league at $87.3 million, according to the NFL Players' Association.

"The one thing I know is that the new owner, Woody Johnson, has gone out of his way," Namath told the Los Angeles Times for Friday editions. "To pay as much money as he did for the franchise is pretty remarkable. And then to try and keep the nucleus of players he has there by paying them a good buck, he's really gone out of his way to show that he wants to win.

"I know he wants to win. But the players are just not playing up to the caliber of high-paid guys. It's ridiculous."

For the Jets to have the highest-paid team in the league ... boy, those players ought to thank Mr. Johnson every day of the week a few times."

RAMS: All-Pro running back Marshall Faulk might return to practice today for St.Louis, which plays the Chicago Bears on Monday night. Faulk sprained his right foot and strained a tendon in his right ankle Sunday against the San Diego Chargers and didn't practice Friday, but coach Mike Martz said he was making progress.

Faulk, listed as questionable for the game, ran on a treadmill Friday.

"He did quite a bit, actually, just to see where he was and get some cardiovascular training going," Martz said. "I'm a little pessimistic about it, but we'll just see."

RAVENS: Coach Brian Billick is expected to make a game-time decision on whether linebacker Ray Lewis will play against Miami this weekend. Lewis, an All-Pro who has missed five consecutive games because of a partially dislocated left shoulder, was upgraded to questionable on the injury report.

"Ray had a good week. We'll see how he is come Sunday," Billick said.

Lewis participated in practice Thursday and a walkthrough Friday but said his shoulder was sore.

"I want to say that I'm playing, but I said I was playing against Pittsburgh three weeks ago," Lewis said. "I hadn't felt that soreness in quite a while. If I'm willing to deal with the pain (Sunday), I'll deal with it. But it's not pleasant."

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Excitable Gramatica draws Sauerbrun's ire

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After first loss, Sooners set sights on smaller goals
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Today's Top 25 games

No. 4 Texas 77, No. 16 Georgia 71
No. 18 Marquette 73, Villanova 61
Louisville, Western Kentucky sign hoopsters
After raising school's profile, Knight readies for new season
Irish aiming for third straight tourney berth
Coach K injures hip flexor muscle

Mavericks remain unbeaten
Yao feeling pressure

UC, Miami advance in NCAA soccer

Mogilny burst extends Sabres streak
Gerber's 39 saves leads Ducks

Kings' unbeaten run washed away by C-J
Balance meets option in Div. I
Alter 42, Reading 10
High school football scores

Beechwood 28, Holy Cross 6
Highlands 52, Scott 0
Boone Co. 40, Louisville Eastern 39
LexCath 29, CovCath 27
Trinity 31, Dixie Heights 16
Roncalli 17, East Central 10 (OT)
Mason Co. 49, Lloyd 21
Newport Central Catholic 47, Raceland 7

Mets make serious pitch to Glavine
Cubs hire Baker as manager
Seattle picks former catcher to manage
All-Stars win in Japan

As the sports world turns
Jesse Jackson plans protest if Augusta doesn't admit a woman
Hewitt reaches Masters Cup semis
Oracle, Alinghi into America's Cup semis
Stewart outqualifies Martin in NASCAR season finale

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