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NFL announces 4-game suspension of Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater

Kicker Matt Prater #5 of the Denver Broncos looks on during the third quarter against the Seattle Seahawks during Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium on February 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Kicker Matt Prater #5 of the Denver Broncos looks on during the third quarter against the Seattle Seahawks during Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium on February 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the NFL officially announced the suspension of Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater. The 30-year-old will miss the team’s first four games, after violating the league’s substances of abuse policy. Before practice on Monday, he apologized to his teammates.

"I'm really sorry," said Prater. "I've made mistakes, hope to regain everyone's trust back and I'm going to work my tail off to try and win a championship this year. I take full responsibility for what's happened, I'm accountable for it. It's no one's fault but my own, I'm dealing with it, hopefully learn from it, improve as a person and a football player.''

The violation is to be alcohol-related. He has been in the league’s alcohol program since 2011, after he was charged with DUI. As terms of his participation in the program, he is not allowed to drink alcohol.

The league was believed to originally be seeking a yearlong suspension for Prater, but reached an agreement with the kicker to reduce the length to four games. He will allowed to work out in the team’s facility, but cannot practice with the team, or attend the games. Here is the NFL’s statement on the matter:

Matt Prater of the Denver Broncos has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2014 regular season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.

Prater will be eligible to return to the Broncos’ active roster on Monday, October 6 following the team’s October 5 game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Prater is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games.

The only other kicker on the Broncos’ roster is undrafted rookie Mitch Ewald. As Ewald has struggled in the preseason, the team may look to a veteran free agent to fill in for the big leg of Prater.

"At the end of the day, there's an opening there," said Ewald. "Is it for me? Who knows? It might be; it might be for somebody else. I've just got to keep working hard and see what happens."

This will mark the second straight season in which the Broncos will begin the campaign without one of their star players, as linebacker Von Miller was suspended at the beginning of last season for violating the league's substance of abuse policy.

In other news, the Broncos trimmed two players from their roster, getting down to the league-mandated 75 by Tuesday’s deadline. As expected, they placed receiver Jordan Norwood on injured reserve. They also waived defensive tackle Cody Larsen.