ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Contrite and candid, an emotional Matt Prater apologized for running afoul of the league's substance-abuse policy, which he confirmed will lead to a four-game suspension to open the 2014 season.
"I take full responsibility for what's happened and I'm accountable for it," he said. "It's no one's fault but my own and I am dealing with it."
Prater was in the league's substance-abuse program, the parameters of which require regular testing, which led to the upcoming suspension. He did not try to tap-dance around the reasons why he committed the violation that led to the punishment.
"Why did I risk it? I just made a mistake," he said. "I don't have an excuse for it, I screwed up, and now I'm paying the price for it.
"I'm definitely going to make some changes in my life. Not drink at all or risk doing anything stupid like that. Keep myself out of certain situations like not go to places where people are drinking."
Head Coach John Fox said there was "always disappointment" in situations like this, but he stood behind Prater.
"In this case, he's part of our family," Fox said. "He's one of ours, and we're going to support him through this."
To underscore those words, Fox stepped outside, behind a cluster of media, to watch Prater speak. Standing beside Fox were three of Prater's teammates: long snapper Aaron Brewer, punter Britton Colquitt and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.
"Everyone's been supportive," Prater said. "I addressed the team, apologized to them this morning because it affects the team just like everyone else. very supportive and behind me and I'm lucky to have such good teammates."
Prater said that discussion of a possible suspension was ongoing for "a few months," but that he hoped to escape with a fine. He did not learn of the final details of his punishment until just before Saturday's preseason game against Houston.
He admitted the news "definitely" affected him. He missed a 49-yard field-goal attempt wide left and was fortunate to not misfire on a 32-yard try, which knuckled through the uprights.
"I obviously didn't have my best game," said Prater. "It's been on my mind, it affected me. It's just one of those things it's hard when you have that hanging over your head and you're waiting for it to come out and then when it does come out it obviously affected my performance."
Prater said he plans to work out five days a week at the team facility, which is permitted under the league's substance-abuse program. However, he will have to do his kicking work away from the team, at a local high-school field.
"I'm really sorry. I've made mistakes, and I hope to gain everyone's trust back, and I'm going to work my tail off to try to help us win a championship this year," he said.