Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater has apologized to teammates after the league’s best kicker was suspended four games for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy and despite the indiscretion, it appears his roster spot will remain safe.
Prater, who will lose $705,000 in salary during his suspension, told teammates that he was “definitely going to make some changes in my life: not drink at all or risk doing anything stupid like that.”
The Denver Broncos kicker was arrested for DUI in 2011 and placed in the league’s substance abuse program. Prater’s agent said the kicker consumed a few beers while on vacation at the end of the team’s offseason workout program.
Prater said he learned from the league a few months ago that he could be suspended. The Denver Broncos kicker said the prospect of missing time has affected his play in the preseason.
But teammates are standing by Prater. At a news conference he was surrounded by fellow players, including punter Britton Cloquitt, long snapper Aaron Brewer and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. Coach John Fox added that the entire team is supporting Prater during his difficult time.
“There’s always disappointment,” Fox said. “In this case, he’s part of our family. He’s one of ours, and we’re going to support him through this.”
In 2013 Matt Prater was the best kicker in the NFL, hitting a league-best 96.7 percent of his field goal attempts.
Still, there have been those who believe the Denver Broncos should cut their kicker. Fansided writer Chad Jensen said the team pays Prater too much for such behavior:
So why pay a kicker an average annual salary of $3.25M? Most kickers make right close to the veteran minimum, afterall.
Is Matt Prater really worth that type of money? I submit to you no, he isn’t. Especially when you factor in his DUI and subsequent placement in the NFL’s Substance Abuse Program and now his 4 game suspension.
Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater is due back Oct. 12 for a matchup against the New York Jets.