The Denver Broncos have released kicker Matt Prater.
Prater was in the midst of serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. He received the suspension for drinking alcohol, which was forbidden since he had been enrolled in the NFL's alcohol program since a DUI arrest in 2011.
"Parting ways with Matt Prater—the longest-tenured player on our roster—was a very difficult football decision," [general manager] John Elway said. "On behalf of our entire organization, I want to thank Matt for his seven seasons with the Broncos and wish him well going forward."
Prater has played for the Broncos since 2007. He made the Pro Bowl last season after making 25 of his 26 field goal attempts, including a 64-yarder that broke the NFL record for longest field goal. He also set an NFL record with 75 extra points.
The release of Prater means Brandon McManus will remain the team's kicker going forward. Denver traded for McManus in August in the wake of Prater's suspension and the first-year player has made all three of his field goal attempts and all eight extra point attempts this season.
McManus, 23, played for Temple in college. He spent time with the Indianapolis Colts in training camp last season.
"Brandon McManus has earned the opportunity to continue kicking for our team with how well he’s played to start the season," Elway said. "He has a very strong leg and we have confidence in him on both field goals and kickoffs.”
The Broncos are 2-1 this season. They host the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
- Ben Estes