Broncos dump record-setting kicker Prater

Matt Prater, who kicked the longest field goal in National Football League history last season, was released Friday by the Denver Broncos, who instead will stick with rookie Brandon McManus.

Prater made 25 of 26 field-goal attempts last year for the Broncos, including a record-long 64-yard effort as Denver reached the Super Bowl, where the Broncos lost to Seattle.

The Broncos, who play host to unbeaten Arizona on Sunday, are off to a 2-1 start this season without Prater, who was suspended for the first four games of the season for an NFL substance abuse violation.

The Denver Post reported that Prater’s violation was alcohol related. He had been in the NFL alcohol program since a drink driving charge in 2011.

Prater was Denver’s longest-tenured player, having been signed in December of 2007. But another violation would have brought a one-year suspension to the kicker.

“Parting ways with Matt Prater was a very difficult football decision,” Broncos general manager John Elway said. “Brandon McManus has earned the opportunity to continue kicking for our team with how well he’s played to start the season. He has a very strong leg and we have confidence in him on both field goals and kickoffs.”

McManus has made all three of his field goal attempts this season and allowed only two kickoff returns.

“It’s always a football decision, what’s going to give us the best chance,” Broncos coach John Fox said. “I wish Matt nothing but the best moving forward.”