Broncos Kicker Matt Prater: Shotgun Willie's DUI + Two Beers = Four Game Suspension

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Matt Prater's 2011 booking photo. More images below.
Broncos kicker Matt Prater is unusual when it comes to NFL players suspended for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Instead of being punished for consuming marijuana or other drugs, he's going to be riding the pine for downing what his attorney, Harvey Steinberg, describes as "a couple beers at home on vacation."

Why? The explanation root's can be found in his 2011 arrest for hit-and-run DUI while in the company of an employee from Shotgun Willie's. Details below.

See also: Matt Prater, Broncos Kicker: Will He Lose Job Over Hit-and-Run DUI With Strip-Club Employee?

At about 3 a.m. on August 2, 2011, as we reported at the time, Greenwood Village police officers were called to the community's Hyatt Hotel. There, four witnesses said they'd seen a purple Chevrolet Trailblazer smack a car in the parking lot.

Instead of checking out the damage, the driver reportedly split for the hotel lobby, where officers subsequently found a 22-year-old woman who worked at Shotgun Willie's. She told the cops she'd been riding in the Trailblazer with someone named "Matt P" -- but rather than stay with her at the Hyatt following the accident, he split, leaving her there.

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A welcome sign from the original Shotgun Willie's location.
He also abandoned the Trailblazer, a rental vehicle with a parking permit from the Broncos training facility sporting Prater's name. Also inside -- a duffel bag full of footballs.

At that point, the police began searching for Prater -- and they found him at a nearby La Quinta. He insisted that he hadn't consumed any liquor since 7 p.m. the evening before, yet the police report said he had booze on his breath and bloodshot eyes and fumbled throughout a field sobriety drill. A test subsequently put his blood alcohol content at .142, not quite double the legal standard for intoxication.

The report quoted Prater as saying, "I really messed up... I'm going to lose my job" -- and that certainly seemed possible at the time given the negative PR surrounding former cornerback Perrish Cox, charged with fathering the child of a rape victim. (Cox was ultimately found not guilty at trial; he's now a San Francisco 49er.) The Broncos' statement about the bust was certainly negative. It read in part: "Our organization is disappointed with the poor judgment shown by Matt Prater on Aug. 2.

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Prater's team photo for the Broncos.
Nonetheless, Prater remained on the Denver squad, and last December, he solidified his status as one of the NFL's elite kickers by booting a 64-yard field goal -- the longest in league history

He won't get the chance to extend that mark right away. Due to the 2011 arrest, Prater was enrolled in the league's alcohol-abuse program, and he's regularly tested to make sure he remains in compliance. Those "couple beers" mentioned by Steinberg rated a violation that could have earned Prater a suspension for an entire year, but the attorney is said to have bargained the punishment down to four games. As a result, Prater will be unavailable until the October 12 game against the New York Jets.

We're guessing those beers left quite a bitter aftertaste.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.


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132 comments
Erich Kreybig
Erich Kreybig

Uh no not when a wife beater gets a 2 game suspension #bullshit

Liz Lemonds
Liz Lemonds

Which is only slightly less than Michael Vick got for killings hundreds of dogs with his own hands.....The NFL has some messed up priorities.

Jimi Swinford
Jimi Swinford

two beers? lmao! that's not even half a drink. practically non-alcoholic.

Kirk Jordan
Kirk Jordan

The real question is if Rice was drunk while beating his GF would it be a 6 game suspension instead. My best guess is no.

Joe Brown
Joe Brown

The punishment doesn't fit the crime but no one seems to want to talk about how he had a signed agreement and it got him off his initial suspension for the DUI and even at that it was supposed to be a mandatory year suspension and still only got 4 months soo stop writing about the comparison it's dumb

Jason Dennee
Jason Dennee

Prater's suspension is a result if the collectively negotiated agreement between the player's union and the owners. Until this week there was no policy regarding domestic violence. Now there is. Nice sh1tpost, Denver Westword.

Antroy Oneinthechamber Roby
Antroy Oneinthechamber Roby

Quit with the Ray Rice comparisons! Matt Prater knew full well what the stipulations of his punishment and treatment program was when he agreed to it. I shed no tears for his stupidity.

Andrew Padbury
Andrew Padbury

You get worse for weed! Another example of how football never required brains

Billy BlackFeather Drexx
Billy BlackFeather Drexx

I think ANY & ALL players afforded the privilege & $$$ given them for playing a GAME for a living guilty of ANY felony charges be automatically suspended for 5 games & heavily fined. And if said player commits a 2nd offense be automatically & permanently banned from the league & any & all endorsements & be prosecuted to the full extent of the law like the rest of us. You wanna make a statement that the league will not tolerate such behavior by athletes in a position of influence & representing your city then they need to get tough in way that gives players a serious wake-up call.

Sean Krull
Sean Krull

Yes and I agree with these people as far as ray rice he should be out of the NFL permanently

Johnny Hawkins
Johnny Hawkins

He's lucky he only committed a hot and run. Football is the last thing that would be on his mind if he committed vehicular manslaughter. Don't drink and drive.

Henry Kelsey
Henry Kelsey

This is so old. He got what he deserved, look into all he did. If you or I was on probation for a DUI and got caught drinking, we would be on jail.

Leon Wilcox
Leon Wilcox

No ray rice should be terminated from the league permanently prater should be suspended also some addiction classes as well. Apparently the NFL hates drunks more than wife beaters

Dustin Roger Mikkelsen
Dustin Roger Mikkelsen

The fact that Ray Rice can beat his wife unconscious and only get two games, while Prater gets four games for two beers is laughable. That being said, he was on probation, he knew what would happen and drank anyways... no sympathy for him

Erich Kreybig
Erich Kreybig

But wife beating Ray Rice gets a 2 game suspension smh...

Stephen Felt
Stephen Felt

Yet the NFL levied no punishment on a convicted killer like I said.

Sally O'Hare
Sally O'Hare

I wonder who will be next to be arrested on the Broncos for being stupid, some role models for kids these guys are smh

AJ Byrnes
AJ Byrnes

He got tested cuz he showed up to practice a little inebriated and still showed up with PEDs in his system...I live in Denver and I serve the Broncos players/coaching staff I hear what they talk about

Paul Soucy
Paul Soucy

Ev Kaz Shane Halsall it's the pressure of having to deal with Manning drove him to drinking lol

Jennifer Parr
Jennifer Parr

Oddly enough you know who told me about this... Ha ha ha

Michael Hartman
Michael Hartman

I was unaware of that, thanks. This is one of many many infractions, like four total, in order for the initial penalty to be a year however.

Helga Gesson
Helga Gesson

That is so stupid! Seriously? All that fuzz over 2 beers?

Joel Jaramillo
Joel Jaramillo

Gilbert Jaramillo Jr. This is why you should try out...

Jim Mayes
Jim Mayes

Micheal Vick went to prison!

GuestWho
GuestWho topcommenter

Time for the Broncos to drop Prater and look for another kicker.

Rodrigo Rodriguez
Rodrigo Rodriguez

Ray Rice knocked his fiancee out and dragged her limp body around a hotel and got less of a suspension.

Myrna Lipton
Myrna Lipton

Half the story, he was be be free of all drugs including beer. Look at the footage of the game, he looks "bad"!

Tyler Romero
Tyler Romero

Yeah I saw that he should have just beat his wife it only gets you two games

Jeff McCutcheon
Jeff McCutcheon

There is a test called eTg that can detect something alcohol makes in the body for up to 5 days later. The league is probably using that test on him.

Rob Reese
Rob Reese

Love how Westword titles it "Shotgun Willies DUI"...pretty sure it was Prater that got the DUI, not Shotguns. Would they have used the name of the bar or restaurant if he woukd have been at Elway's or Shannahan's?? SMH

Dane Danbury
Dane Danbury

Police are trying to give me a DWAI for blowing a .043. The minimum is a .05 I am 200 lbs and was the DD coming back from red rocks. They are not serving and protecting they are pretty much stealing money I lost my job and Will be paying like $7000 in court costs this country is fucked up I'm moving out of here

Emma Beasley
Emma Beasley

I would also punish an employee with an obvious drinking problem for breaking my company's rules.

Steven M Palmer
Steven M Palmer

Oh for fuck's sake,watch any episode of COPS and anytime they pull someone over for DUI the person will always say they've had "two beers"...

Kevin Igou
Kevin Igou

That is the problem now days, no personal integrity. Rules are Rules. He needs to accept the consequences of his decisions to drink two beers. Sad but true reality!

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