METAIRIE, La. (AP) -It was hard for 11-year veteran Olindo Mare not to notice the fellow kickers brought in for workouts by the New Orleans Saints this week.
``I'm friends with some of them,'' Mare said after sitting out Wednesday's practice in hopes of getting his sore right groin well enough to kick in Seattle on Sunday night. ``I knew what was going on and I'm sure from (the Saints') standpoint, if they're not sure I can kick and get any power ... then why wouldn't they'' try out other kickers.
``I don't think you can judge a player on one game, though,'' Mare added. ``That's obvious, if you've done it for 10 or 11 years.''
Mare kicked hurt against Carolina last Sunday and it showed. He had a 20-yard chip shot blocked early in the fourth quarter, then hooked a 54-yarder wide left with a chance to give the Saints the lead shortly before the 2-minute warning. New Orleans lost 16-13.
Coach Sean Payton wouldn't immediately commit to signing any of the seven kickers he's looked at this week. He said he wants to see how Mare kicks at practice on Thursday first.
There were a couple of well-known veterans in contention to take the job if Mare remains in too much pain to be effective, namely Mike Vanderjagt and Martin Gramatica. Others were Shane Andrus, Bill Cundiff, Josh Huston, Brandon Pace and former Tulane kicker Seth Marler, who has a lot of experience kicking in the Louisiana Superdome.
``We wanted to get a handle on what direction we're going if we've got to make a move because of Mare's injury,'' Payton said.
Mare came to the Saints from the Miami Dolphins in a trade during the offseason. Last season in Miami, Mare was a perfect 10-for-10 from inside 30 yards, but missed 10 field goals from beyond that distance, including five from beyond 50 yards.
The Saints hoped Mare, a former Pro Bowl kicker who has a strong leg and routinely hits kickoffs through the end zone for touchbacks, could find his range on long field goals again in New Orleans. It hasn't happened.
Mare has missed four of seven field goal attempts so far this season.
He was healthy during his first two misses, a 52-yarder at Indianapolis and a 38-yarder at Tampa Bay.
Last Sunday, Mare was good from 25 and 28 yards in the first half before his two failed tries in the fourth quarter.
Mare blamed his performance on his ailing groin, which he hurt on Oct. 3 while practicing an onside kick.
Following the injury, Mare sat out a day, then tried only a handful of kicks last Friday and took about one-third of his normal pregame kicks on Sunday, none from beyond 35 yards.
``The pain that I have is when you make contact with the ball you get like a shooting pain,'' Mare said. ``I couldn't get any follow-through. ... If I was healthy, that never would have happened and that would have been the end of that story.''
Mare also was relieved last Sunday of kickoff duty, which Payton handed to punter Steve Weatherford. Weatherford hit a few low line drives, but the kicks were covered well and Carolina did not have any big returns.
Mare said he would be honest with Payton about how he feels this week, even with a host of kickers waiting for their shot to prove they're more reliable.
``I'm not worried about anybody taking my job as far as when I'm healthy,'' Mare said.
Then Mare alluded to Tony Romo's five interceptions and lost fumble when the Dallas Cowboys played at Buffalo on Monday night.
``You can't base it on one game or Dallas wouldn't have a quarterback.''

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