Prater is Detroit’s latest choice at kicker
DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Lions have signed Matt Prater to a one-year deal in their latest effort to fix their early kicking woes.
The Lions confirmed the agreement Tuesday night. The Broncos cut ties with Prater earlier this month, when the 30-year-old kicker was about to come off a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
Prater made 25 of 26 field goals last season, including a record-setting 64-yarder against Tennessee. The Lions have grown increasingly desperate for kicking help after rookie Nate Freese went 3 of 7 on field goals and Alex Henery went 1 of 5.
Henery missed three field goals in Sunday’s 17-14 loss to Buffalo, including a 50-yarder that would have put Detroit ahead in the final minute.
Prater has been in the NFL’s substance-abuse program, which includes alcohol, since a DUI arrest on Aug. 12, 2011. He was originally facing a ban for a full season but his lawyer negotiated a four-game ban instead.
Prater said he realized one more strike meant he would face sitting out an entire calendar year when he had some beers not long after the Super Bowl.
“Why did I risk it?” Prater said back on Aug. 25. “I made a mistake. I don’t have an excuse for it. I screwed up and now I’m paying the price for it.”
Prater missed two of four field-goal attempts in the preseason, including a 49-yarder in an 18-17 loss to Houston after learning before kickoff that he would be suspended.
Brandon McManus replaced Prater during the suspension, and Denver decided to stick with him.