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Broncos’ Matt Prater gets 4-game suspension for drinking ‘a couple beers’

Matt Prater is embraced by his teammates after a game-winning kick that lifted the Denver Broncos to a 16-13 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Aug. 30, 2012.

Matt Prater is embraced by his teammates after a game-winning kick that lifted the Denver Broncos to a 16-13 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Aug. 30, 2012.

DENVER — The Denver Broncos’ record-setting kicker Matt Prater is expected to be issued a four-game suspension for violated the NFL’s substance abuse policy on Monday, according to a report.

Citing a conversation with Prater’s attorney, Harvey Steinberg, the Denver Post’s Mike Klis reported that the suspension stems from a violation of the NFL’s alcohol-abuse program, which Prater entered in 2011 after being issued a DUI.

Since Prater and Steinberg worked with the NFL to come to the four-game suspension, Prater is not expected to appeal. According to reports, the NFL initially wanted to suspend Prater for a full season.

Prater was arrested in August 2011 and charged with driving under the influence after a hit-and-run incident outside a Denver hotel. Prater was not suspended at that time, but the arrest made him subject to random tests. Steinberg said Prater failed a recent test after “consuming a couple beers at home while on vacation.”

The NFL has been criticized for issuing Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Ray a two-game suspension after an incident of domestic violence that was partially caught on camera.

While Prater did nothing but apologize for his violation, saying “I’ve made some mistakes” and “I’m accepting full responsibility,” it seems you can add Steinberg to the list of those wondering about the NFL’s suspension policies, saying “I wonder if we shouldn’t take a second look at (the) policy” that led to Prater’s suspension.

The 30-year-old Prater broke the NFL record for longest field goal last season, making a kick from 64 yards against the Tennessee Titans. He also set an NFL record with 75 extra points in 2013, and owns and impressive 81.6 conversion percentage on field goal attmpets since he came into the league seven years ago, including last season when he went 25-for-26 on field goal attempts.

The Broncos invited kicker Mitch Ewald to training camp this season, and the undrafted rookie from Indiana has made five extra points and a 22-yard field goal this preseason. It was unclear as of Sunday if the Broncos would attempt to sign a veteran kicker in the wake of Prater’s suspension.

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