A bit of surprising news came through the pipeline on early Sunday morning. Just hours after the Denver Broncos completed their third preseason game, Mike Klis of The Denver Post is reported that the NFL is expected to suspend kicker Matt Prater for the first four games of the season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. 

The violation was alcohol-related. Prater has been in the league’s alcohol program since soon after he was charged with driving under the influence Aug. 12, 2011.

The NFL had planned on suspending Prater for the entire 2014 season before coming to a common ground with the kicker’s lawyer  Harvey Steinberg, This is an indication that Prater, who is considered the best kicker in the league, was in phase three of the NFL’s substance-abuse program. If so, there was likely another alcohol-related incident outside of the 2011 DUI arrest.

Prater converted 25-of-26 field goal attempts for the Broncos last season. It remains to be seen what they plan on doing at this all-important position for the first four games of the season, but there is a strong likelihood that John Fox and Co. will bring in a veteran until Prater returns from his suspension.

Photo: NFL.com