Ex-Giant filled in for Colts this past week

Updated: October 13, 2004, 3:15 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

So maybe itinerant kicker Matt Bryant should start distributing business cards that read "Have leg, will travel," huh?

Matt Bryant
Bryant

For the second straight week, Bryant has signed with a team whose regular place-kicker is sidelined by injury, this time joining the Miami Dolphins, where incumbent Olindo Mare is rehabilitating from a "grade two" strain to his right calf. The injury occurred Sunday as Mare warmed up for the game against the New England Patriots.

Bryant, 29, spent this past Sunday as the temporary stand-in for Indianapolis Colts star kicker Mike Vanderjagt, who missed the victory over the Oakland Raiders with a strained hamstring. In that game, Bryant converted all five extra points but was wide right on a 44-yard field goal try.

The former New York Giants kicker auditioned Wednesday morning for Miami team officials and coaches and signed a one-year contract, for $380,000, shortly after the workout. As was the case in Indianapolis, the third-year veteran probably will be waived after this weekend's game against the Buffalo Bills -- assuming Mare has recovered.

Miami worked out three other free-agent kickers -- Jeff Chandler, Bill Gramatica and Tim Duncan -- on Tuesday. But a team official had apprised ESPN.com earlier in the day that Bryant, who got a strong recommendation from the Indianapolis staff, was the replacement being targeted.

Bryant converted 37 of 46 field goals and 47 of 49 extra points in 27 games with the New York Giants in 2002-03. The former Baylor standout appeared in all 16 games in 2002 and totaled 108 points that year. He was in camp with the Dallas Cowboys this summer, but, despite a very strong challenge to incumbent Billy Cundiff there, was released just before the season started.

Although the Dolphins have not indicated it publicly, they were upset with Mare on Sunday because he had told coaches all week he would be able to kick against the Patriot despite the calf injury. At one point before the game, he even apprised coach Dave Wannstedt of the kicking conditions and what he felt his range might be. Then, before the game, the Dolphins trainer told Wannstedt that Mare's calf had tightened up and that he could not play.

Return specialist Wes Welker, who had no previous NFL experience as a kicker, was forced to handle the placement chores. There were two occasions during the contest in which Wannstedt normally would have called for field goals but was forced to try to convert fourth-down situations because Mare was not available.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here Insider.