What's buzzing:

Shutdown Corner

Broncos kicker Matt Prater suspended four games for alcohol-related violation

Shutdown Corner
Houston Texans v Denver Broncos
.

View photo

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 23: Kicker Matt Prater #5 of the Denver Broncos kicks a 32 yard field goal as Britton Colquitt #4 holds the ball against the Houston Texans in the first quarter during a preseason game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 23, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

You don't expect kickers to end up on the NFL's suspended list, but it happened to Denver's Matt Prater. And it's because he had a couple of beers at home, his lawyer said.

Prater, one of the league's best kickers because of his range on field goals and ability to get touchbacks on kickoffs, will miss the first four games of the season according to the Denver Post. His suspension is a violation of the substance-abuse policy, and is alcohol related, the Post said. Prater had been in the league's alcohol program since he was charged with a DUI on Aug. 12, 2011. Once a player is in the program, any positive tests can result in an automatic suspension, which is what happened with Prater.

[ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today! ]

The NFL had threatened a year-long suspension but Prater's attorney Harvey Steinberg worked out a deal for only four games, the Post said.

"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. 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."

Now, who knows if Steinberg is stretching the truth about Prater having "a couple beers" at home on vacation, because the league's program is confidential. But here's a reminder that Baltimore running back Ray Rice got suspended only two games for a domestic abuse incident against the woman who is now his wife.

Prater set a league record for touchbacks with 81 last season. He is 21-of-27 in his career on field goals of 50 yards or longer, the best percentage of any kicker who started his career after 1970. He set a NFL record with a 64-yard field goal last season and a franchise record with 150 points, as a key part of an offense that set a league record for points in a season. This is no small loss for the Broncos, who have rookie Mitch Ewald as the only other kicker on the roster.

The Broncos probably didn't want to deal with their kicker being suspended for a quarter of the season as they try to defend their AFC championship, but they'll sign someone off the street for the first month or go with the untested Ewald and hope none of their first four games come down to a long field goal at the end.

- - - - - - -

Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

View Comments (804)
  • Aston Villa comes from behind to beat Liverpool 2-1 to clinch FA Cup final against Arsenal

    Aston Villa comes from behind to beat Liverpool 2-1 to clinch FA Cup final against Arsenal

    Aston Villa came from behind to beat Liverpool 2-1 in the semifinals of the FA Cup on Sunday to clinch a title match next month against Arsenal. Though fighting to stay up in the Premier League, Villa was superior for most of the game at Wembley … More »

    The Canadian Press - 3 minutes 23 seconds ago
  • Kwiatkowski upsets top favorites to win Amstel Gold Race

    World champion Michal Kwiatkowski of Poland outgunned the favorites to win the Amstel Gold Race, a 258-km hilly one-day classic race on Sunday. The Etixx-Quick Step rider ended up in a select group at the top of the Cauberg, the last of 34 climbs, … More »

    Reuters - 15 minutes ago
  • Tennis-Holders Czech Republic beat France to reach Fed Cup final

    (Updates with doubles result) PARIS, April 19 (Reuters) - The Czech Republic reached their fourth Fed Cup final in five years when Petra Kvitova beat Caroline Garcia 6-4 6-4 to help the holders beat France 3-1 on Sunday. They will face Russia, who … More »

    Reuters - 18 minutes ago
  • Bremen's Di Santo on target as Hamburg lose again

    Bremen's Di Santo on target as Hamburg lose again

    Werder Bremen edged past bottom club Hamburg SV 1-0 courtesy of an 84th-minute penalty by Franco Di Santo that kept them in the running for a Europa League spot. Argentine Di Santo converted his spot-kick for his 13th goal of the season after … More »

    Reuters - 24 minutes ago
  • Man City close on United after West Ham stroll

    Man City close on United after West Ham stroll

    By Tom Hayward LONDON (Reuters) - Manchester City climbed to within one point of third-placed neighbours United with a comfortable 2-0 Premier League victory over West Ham United on Sunday to end a difficult week on a high. James Collins's freak … More »

    Reuters - 34 minutes ago