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Matt Prater released by Denver Broncos

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Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater's four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy will end up costing him his job.

The team announced Prater's release on Friday.

Prater, 30, earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2013 and has been one of the NFL's most effective kickers over the past few seasons.

"Parting ways with Matt Prater -- the longest-tenured player on our roster -- was a very difficult football decision," general manager John Elway said in a statement. "On behalf of our entire organization, I want to thank Matt for his seven seasons with the Broncos and wish him well going forward."

Denver decided to go with Brandon McManus, who has made all of his field goals and fared well on kickoffs in the first three games. Common sense tells us they didn't want to risk losing McManus only to be left hanging if Prater ran afoul of the substance abuse policy again.

If McManus stays with the Broncos all season, the New York Giants will acquire a seventh-round draft pick, per the conditions of the late August trade.

Prater boasts one of the strongest and most accurate legs in the NFL. It won't be long before he gets a chance with a different team.

The Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints are among the teams that could use an upgrade at kicker.

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