While the Denver Broncos are still looking for the returner to help them on special teams, they have been dealt a significant blow on that side of the football.
Reports have surfaced that placekicker Matt Prater has been suspended by the league for the first four games of the regular season for violating the substance abuse policy. However, he did not test positive for steroids or marijuana; instead, his suspension is alcohol related. Reports first surfaced after the Broncos suffered their first preseason loss of the season, a 18-17 defeat to the Houston Texans. Prater was in the program since he was arrested in 2011 for a DUI and leaving the scene of a crash. He underwent increased testing since then,and the league found that he had in fact been drinking.
The suspension is going to hurt the special teams department for the Broncos, as they are still trying to figure out who their returner will be. They are now going to be without one of the most accurate kickers in the league until their Oct. 12 matchup with the New York Jets due to the team’s bye week on the last weekend of September. Mitch Ewald is a kicker who they have in camp, but could be looking elsewhere in the next few days after he missed a 36 yard field goal during the preseason loss on Saturday.
While the suspension does seem long for his case, seeing as how Ray Rice got away with two games for something a bit more serious, in my opinion, losing Prater for the first quarter of the season will be a tough pill to swallow with how accurate he was for the Broncos. The team already lost Danny Trevathan for a few weeks into the regular season with an injury. Having the most accurate kicker in 2013 out for a significant period of time is going to be a tough pill to swallow.