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Bucs kicker in trouble for lead foot

(ran PW, PS editions)

So he missed a 36-yard field goal Sunday. And, yeah, on Monday he had to pay off the second traffic ticket he has received while driving on County Road 491 in the past two years.

Not exactly the model of professional athlete glamor. Still, Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Martin Gramatica created quite a buzz Monday afternoon when he made a quick trip to the clerk's office in the Citrus County Courthouse.

The reason for his visit: He owed $180 plus court costs and late fees for a speeding ticket he received May 10.

"It will be the talk of the week around here," one clerk said.

The LaBelle resident, who turns 28 later this month, had his mother in tow, courthouse employees said. They heard Laura Gramatica lives in Citrus County, though the Property Appraiser's Office had no listing for any Gramaticas here.

Whatever the case, Martin Gramatica hasn't been a stranger to the county's roads. On May 24, 2002, a Florida Highway Patrol officer clocked Gramatica driving a silver BMW going 84 mph in a 55 mph zone on CR 491 near Lone Court.

He paid $150 and went to traffic school.

Last May, he was tooling down CR 491 near Noble Street in a white SUV when another trooper clocked him at 75 mph in a 55 mph zone, court records show. Gramatica pleaded no contest in August.

He even agreed to the ticketing officer's request to having their picture taken together at the scene.

Court personnel said the football player also showed no signs of Warren Sapp-like behavior Monday as fans encircled him for autographs and photographs.

He happily obliged their requests, even allowing one woman just to touch his hand. Then, he paid his ticket like an average Joe.

"He was a nice guy," said Mitch Cook, a court bailiff. "He was very pleasant to everybody."