MONDAY, 3:45pm: Prater has issued a statement through the Broncos’ Twitter account: “I’m really sorry. I’ve made mistakes. I addressed the team and apologized.” Lindsay H. Jones of USA Today notes (on Twitter) that although Prater will be allowed to lift weights at the Broncos’ facility during his suspension, he will be forced to practice kicking alone at a high school field.
SUNDAY, 8:37am: Broncos kicker Matt Prater has been suspended for the first four games of the 2014 regular season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, reports Mike Klis of the Denver Post. Klis writes that the violation was alcohol-related, and adds that Prater has been in the league’s alcohol program since being charged with driving under the influence in 2011.
Although Prater certainly benefits from a production standpoint by playing for the league’s most prolific offensive club, there is no denying his ability. He converted 25 of 26 field goal attempts last season and led the league with 81 touchbacks. His suspension will certainly hurt, and it will certainly enter into head coach John Fox‘s strategy over the first four games of the season.
An official announcement is expected to be made on Monday. The four-game ban was part of an agreement between the league and Prater’s attorney, Harvey Steinberg, so Prater is not expected to appeal. The league had been threatening a one-year suspension.
Brian McIntyre tweets that Prater will lose $705,882 in base salary.