This football player's timing couldn't be worse--Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater will be suspended for four games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Prater has been with the Broncos since 2008 and was selected to the 2014 Pro Bowl team.
The news that the Denver Broncos kicker was suspended came Sunday morning. Prater confirmed the suspension with The Denver Post, but an announcement from the league isn't expected until Monday. Prater was charged with DUI in 2011, and as part of the NFL's substance abuse program, Prater can be fined or suspended if he has a positive test. According to Harvey Steinberg, Prater's attorney, it sounds like the Denver Broncos suspended their kicker over a relatively small amount of alcohol.
"No one feels worse about this than Matt Prater," Steinberg said of the suspension. "He feels terribly for his teammates. It's cost him personally, both professionally and financially. I wonder if we shouldn't take a second look at the policy when only a couple beers were consumed at home while he was on vacation. Having said that, the NFL under the constraints of the policy couldn't have treated us better."
— Denver Post Broncos (@PostBroncos) August 24, 2014
Even though the Denver Broncos kicker will have to miss the first four games over a couple of beers, he isn't making any excuses for what happened. "I've made some mistakes," Matt Prater said. "I'm accepting full responsibility. I'll learn from it and come back a better person. I want to apologize to my teammates, my coaches, the Broncos' organization and the fans."
According to a tweet from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, there may be a good reason that Prater isn't complaining about being suspended from the Broncos for four games. According to Schefter, the kicker was facing a year-long suspension before Steinberg intervened.
Turns out Broncos K Matt Prater was facing a year-long suspension that his attorney, Harvey Steinberg, got reduced to four games.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 24, 2014
Some fans feel that the suspension is too long, considering that Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was only suspended for two games after being arrested for domestic violence.
Matt Prater gets 4 games for having a few beers. Ray Rice gets 2 games for beating his wife and dragging her body out of the elevator.
— Johnny Quid (@JoeGiss) August 25, 2014
So Matt Prater has a couple of beers and gets suspended 4 games, Ray Rice knocks out his wife and gets 2 games. Logic.
— Jack Manna (@jmanna7) August 24, 2014
The Denver Broncos first regular season game is September 7 against the Indianapolis Colts. Prater should return for the October 12 game against the New York Jets. Until then, Mitch Ewald will likely take over Prater's placekicking duties. The Broncos signed the recent Indiana University graduate last month.