Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater is set to be suspended for the first four games of the 2014 season after violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.
According to Mike Klis of the Denver Post, Prater violated the policy due to an alcohol-related offense. He had been in the league’s alcohol program since being charged with a DUI in 2011.
“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.”
Prater is not expected to appeal the suspension.
The suspension will span the first five weeks of the season as Denver has its bye in Week 4. It means the Broncos will be without Prater for their three home games against Indianapolis (Week 1), Kansas City (Week 2) and Arizona (Week 5), and on the road for their Super Bowl rematch with Seattle in Week 3.
Prater was second in the league in scoring last season with 150 points scored behind New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski (158).
Rookie Mitch Ewald is the only other kicker on Denver’s roster. He’s converted 1 of 2 field goals and all four extra points he’s attempted. However, he missed a 36-yard attempt Saturday night against Houston. They’ll need someone to handle kicking duties for the first quarter of the season with Prater out. Whether it will be Ewald or a veteran remains to be determined.