Broncos kicker Matt Prater to be suspended by NFL for four games


Matt Prater before last weekend’s preseason game at Levi’s Stadium. (Noah Graham / Getty Images)

Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater is facing a four-game suspension from the NFL for violating the substance-abuse policy.

This, though, is where it gets weird. The suspension, according to the Denver Post, is alcohol-related because Prater has been in the NFL’s substance-abuse since being charged with driving under the influence in August 2011. Prater was, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, facing a year-long ban that was reduced upon appeal.

It’s a suspension that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is going to be pressed to explain, especially because of the circumstances described by Prater’s lawyer, Harvey Steinberg.

“No one feels worse about this than Matt Prater,” Steinberg told the Denver Post. “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.”

Still, the suspension is going to renew the debate over punishment that has raged all summer. Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens got a two-game suspension stemming from a domestic violence incident and Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns is facing a one-year ban for marijuana use.

“I’ve made some mistakes,” Prater said. “I’m accepting full responsibility. I’ll learn from it and come back a better person. I want to apologize to my teammates, my coaches, the Broncos’ organization and the fans.”

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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