ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Broncos rewarded kicker Matt Prater for his record-setting 2011 season with a new four-year contract on Monday.
"It feels amazing," Prater said. "It's something I've worked for since I was a little kid. Throughout the process it was kind of tough especially once practice and everything starts, I wanted to be there. In the end, I knew it was going to get done. The Broncos made it pretty easy and my agent did a great job so it wasn't too bad of a process. I'm excited to be back. I'm very thankful to (Owner) Mr. Bowlen, (Executive V.P. of Football Operations John) Elway, the entire organization, the fans and everybody involved. It's awesome to be out here."
The sixth-year kicker led the team with 87 total points and finished first in the NFL with his 70.1 touchback percentage on kickoffs in 2011. He also became one of three players in league history with four game-winning field goals in overtime or as time expired in regulation.
Prater said he has come a long way as a kicker to reach this career benchmark. Now, he's looking forward to earning every penny on his new deal.
"I've progressed and gotten better," Prater said. "I was hoping for it to happen and now that it's happened I'm very thankful and gracious and ready to prove myself and why I got a long-term contract. I need to show everyone that I'm worth it."
Although he was confident throughout the process that he would remain the Broncos' kicker for the 2012 season, he would have liked to been present at the team's offseason workouts as he has in years past.
"It was just tough because in the past, I've always been out here for the offseason program," Prater said. "Seeing on the news all the guys together working out and getting the chemistry, the team chemistry, and building relationships – that was probably the most difficult part. Just the uncertainty of not knowing exactly what's going to happen was a little difficult too."
With training camp starting on July 26th, Prater is looking forward to seeing the new-look Broncos in action.
"I'm really excited just to see the offense and what they're going to be doing," Prater said. "I'm excited to meet everyone, which was a big thing too that was tough about not being there for the offseason – all the new faces that were in the facility. Now I'm going to have to meet everybody at camp. I'm really excited to get back to work and meet all those guys and see what I can do."
Prater, who has not met the team's new quarterback, is hoping that Peyton Manning and company will help make for shorter kicks.
"The offense can also make my job easier too," he laughed. "Maybe I'll just have to kick a lot of extra points this year, which will be awesome."