According to Yahoo.com, the NFL has suspended Broncos’ kicker Matt Prater for the first for games of the season. The news of the pending suspension came through early Sunday morning, and it could be a huge blow for the Denver Broncos.
Matt Prater, widely regarded as the NFL’s best kicker violated the NFL’s substance abuse policy, according to the Denver Post. Apparently, Prater was facing a full season ban until the suspension was negotiated down to four games.
The Denver Broncos still haven’t made a comment or released a statement about the Matt Prater issue, but they have some big decisions to make as they are less than two weeks before the regular season starts.
According to the Denver Post, the suspension was alcohol related. Matt Prater was arrested and charged for a DUI Aug. 12, 2011, and has been in the substance abuse program ever since.
Prater was part of the most prolific offenses in history, and he played his part very well. He hit 25 out of 26 field goals when the Broncos weren’t scoring touchdowns, and he was also a weapon on the kickoff team. Yahoo Sports reported that Prater accounted for 81 touchbacks in 2013.
In the NFL, games are won and lost, depending on the kicker’s prowess. Denver knew they could count on Prater to come through whenever the offense stalled, so the Broncos were a well oiled machine.
The Broncos’ open up the season with one of the toughest schedules in the league. They face the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday Night Football, then host Kansas City the next week. After that, Denver travels to Seattle for their first road game. The Broncos end September with a Bye week, but their fourth game is against Arizona.
All four of those teams won double digit games last season, while three of them made the playoffs. It will be interesting to see if any of the games come down to a late game field goal.
In his career, Matt Prater has made 142 of 174 field goal attempts.