Denver Broncos Pro Bowl kicker Matt Prater was suspended Sunday for the first four games of the 2014 NFL after violating the league's substance abuse policy, according to multiple reports.
Prater has participated in the NFL's alcohol program since being charged with driving under the influence three seasons ago, the Denver Post's Mike Klis reported. As a result, Prater was prohibited from drinking alcohol. Prater's attorney Harvey Steinberg told Klis:
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.
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Steinberg was more blunt with USA Today, telling the publication Prater had "three beers three years after a DUI. Come on, give me a break."
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported the NFL had threatened a yearlong suspension.
Prater is one of the league's best kickers. During the 2013 season he completed 25 of 26 field goal attempts, including an NFL-record-setting 64-yarder in a win against the Tennessee Titans. He also netted 81 touchbacks on kickoffs last season, leading all NFL kickers.
A rookie, former Indiana University kicker Mitch Ewald, could be called on to replace Prater in the interim.
- Will Green