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Gostkowski wins Patriots kicking job

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (Aug. 23, 2006) -- The New England Patriots released veteran Martin Gramatica, giving the place-kicking job to rookie Stephen Gostkowski.

The fourth-round draft choice from Memphis won the competition to replace Adam Vinatieri, who signed with Indianapolis as a free agent in the offseason. On Aug. 19 in a 30-3 preseason victory against Arizona, Gostkowski was 3-for-3 on field goals -- two covering 37 yards and another 33 -- while Gramatica didn't play.

In the Patriots preseason opener, a 26-23 loss at Atlanta, Gramatica was 2-for-2, and Gostkowski made his only attempt.

Gramatica, 30, didn't play last season after spending most of his career with Tampa Bay.

The Buccaneers drafted Gramatica in the third round out of Kansas State in 1999. In each of his first four seasons, he converted at least 79 percent of his field-goal attempts and made both of his tries when Tampa Bay won the Super Bowl in his fourth season.

But he struggled while battling injuries in 2003 and was released Nov. 30, 2004, after missing seven of his last nine field-goal attempts. Indianapolis picked him up, then released him after the 2004 season.

AP NEWS
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