A year ago, Matt Prater broke the NFL record for longest field goal. He was going to enter the 2014 season as the highest-rated kicker in the NFL on EA's Madden NFL 2015. He was the kicker on a Super Bowl contender.
Life was good.
Tonight's news is an extremely unfortunate turn in the not-good direction.
Prater will be suspended for the first four games of the 2014 Denver Broncos season, the Denver Post reports, having spoken with Prater's lawyer, Harvey Steinberg. The Broncos are expected to announce the suspension Monday.
"No one feels worse about this than Matt Prater," Steinberg said. "He feels terribly for his teammates. It's cost him personally, both professionally and financially."
According to Steinberg, the infraction Prater is found guilty of... well, it certainly isn't beating women or even a PED. Prater drank a couple of beers at home.
"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."
We can presume that, following his DUI charge in 2011, Prater was entered into some sort of program that forbid him from consuming alcohol. But three years later, this program seems incredibly extreme, especially considering that the NFL reportedly wanted to suspend Prater for a full season.
Still, Prater knew better. And maybe there's more to the story.
Regarding Prater, there's always more to the story. Find it hard to believe he'd be suspended four games just for drinking beer.— Vic Lombardi (@VicLombardi) August 24, 2014
"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."
The Broncos have rookie kicker Mitch Ewald on the roster, but he hasn't impressed in training camp. Don't be surprised if they comb the waiver wire to find someone with NFL regular season experience to compete with Ewald.