Matt Prater needed a new NFL team and a place to call

ALLEN PARK Ryquell Armstead Jersey , Mich. (AP)home three years ago. The standout kicker got both in Detroit. The Lions gave Prater a second chance after the Denver Broncos cut ties with him and have been satisfied enough to keep him under contract through the 2020 season. ”It’s definitely a relief,” Prater said Wednesday just after signing a three-year extension. ”Anytime you get a little more security, it’s always a good thing. I’m excited to be here. Very fortunate. It’s going to be good for my family to call Detroit home for a while.” Denver was Prater’s previous home in the NFL, but the Broncos cut ties with him in 2014 just as he was about to come off a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse program. He had a DUI arrest in 2011. Prater was originally facing a ban for a full season, but his lawyer negotiated a four-game ban instead. Prater said he does not drink alcohol anymore and has submitted one or two urine samples each week for four-plus years. ”I’ve been clean,” he said. ”If that’s what I have to do to play football and do what’s best for my family, I’ll do it as long as I can. I haven’t tried to get out of (the program).” Prater said being married with two kids and playing for a supportive franchise has helped him ”stay straight,” since his suspension. ”It’s kind of been ancient past for me,” he said. ”I don’t even really think about it now, which is good. When (former team president) Tom Lewand was here, he had similar situations as me so he could relate and we could talk.” Prater said he has an ”honest and open relationship,” with Lions ownership, general manager Bob Quinn, coaches and teammates. ”They put faith in me and I’ve got to do right by all of them Gardner Minshew II Jersey ,” he said. Prater has made 10 of 12 field goals for Detroit this season, making four from 50-plus yards. The 33-year-old Prater has connected on an NFL-record 78.4 percent of his field goals from 50 yards or longer, including a league-record 64-yard kick in 2013 with the Broncos. ”He does a tremendous job just in terms of our comfort level with attempting kicks that ordinarily you probably would not attempt in a lot of situations,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. ”He’s extremely disciplined, structured in terms of his workout and conditioning, and how he takes care of his body, and he’s a real pro. So, we’re glad to have him.” Coming off a bye, Detroit (3-3) hosts the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2) on Sunday night. NOTES: The Lions had to be thrilled WR Golden Tate was healthy enough to practice on a limited basis Wednesday, less than two weeks after having a shoulder injury at New Orleans that appeared to be serious. Likewise, safety Glover Quin was able to go through a full practice after leaving the Saints game with a concussion and offensive guard T.J. Lang was on the field with his teammates without limitations after being a late scratch in the previous game with a back injury. … The Lions promoted WR Jace Billingsley from the practice squad and demoted QB Brad Kaaya to the practice squad. … OT Corey Robinson was cleared for practice after being on the reserve-injured list with a foot injury. — CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Cam Newton can’t keep from grinning when he looks around at the playmakers that surround him in the Panthers‘ locker room.“The talent level we have on this team is extremely scary,” Newton said.The Panthers proved that again Sunday.Article continues below ...Newton completed 19 of 25 passes for 247 yards and two touchdowns, running back Christian McCaffrey racked up 157 total yards and scored twice and second-year wide receiver Curtis Samuel scored on a 33-yard double reverse and hauled in a 19-yard TD catch midway through the fourth quarter to seal Carolina’s 42-28 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.The Panthers (6-2) are on a roll midway through the season Christian Wilkins Jersey , scoring 99 points in the last nine quarters.They have wide receivers that can run the ball, running backs that can catch, a big body receiver, a third-down receiving specialist, one of the best pass-catching tight ends in the league and, of course, a one-time league MVP at quarterback who can do it all.Those weapons were all on display in the first half as the Panthers scored touchdowns on five straight possessions to build a 35-7 lead en route to their 10th straight win at home.Even a little “Fitzmagic” wasn’t enough for the Buccaneers (3-5).Ryan Fitzpatrick, who started in place of the turnover-prone Jameis Winston, finished with 243 yards passing and four touchdowns — two each to Adam Humphries and O.J. Howard — and led the Bucs back to within 35-28 in the fourth quarter before running out of steam.Fitzpatrick threw two costly interceptions — one on the game’s second possession which led to Carolina’s first touchdown, and other late in the fourth quarter that sealed the Bucs’ fate.“We know we have the talent, it’s just we can’t keep digging ourselves in these holes, especially on the road,” Fitzpatrick said.The deficit — and Carolina’s offensive firepower — proved too much.Tight end Greg Olsen called the versatility the Panthers now have on offense with players like McCaffrey, Samuel and D.J. Moore is unlike anything he’s seen since his arrival in Carolina in 2011.“We have guys who are so explosive Michael Deiter Jersey , so dynamic and so good in the open space,” Olsen said. “We can give them balls on handoffs, throw it to them all — they’re very unique in that regard. I don’t know what we have had this many guys who are that dynamic with the ball in their hands.”That was evident throughout.McCaffrey leaped a defender on a reception in the flat and kept going, racing 32 yards for a first down. Samuel’s 33-yard TD on the reverse included the speedster reversing field and running a combined 103 yards , according to NFL’s Next Gen Stats. And Olsen, the cagey veteran, hauled in a one-handed catch in the end zone — his third TD in three weeks.“We were playing with momentum and when you’re playing like that, we have a lot of juice coming our way so it does make it very fun,” McCaffrey said.Said Newton: “When it’s clicking, it’s clicking.”BREAKING THE PATTERNBucs coach Dirk Koetter is eager to find a solution for his team, which seems to be stuck in a repeating pattern.“We go out, we get behind, we get killed in the second quarter, then rally like (heck) in the third quarter and then everybody thinks we’re back in it and then we fade off at the end Daniel Jones Jersey ,” Koetter said. “That’s definitely the pattern that we’re in. If I knew one thing to fix it I’d do it right now, but I don’t know what that is.”ADDISON TURNS IN TRIFECTAPanthers defensive end Mario Addison had a big game with three sacks to raise his team-leading total to 7½.“I’m a pretty strong guy,” said the 6-foor-3, 260-pound Addison. “People underestimate me because I look kind of small but I pack a punch. By the time they miss and my hands get on the inside of them, I’m running them back and they’re like ‘Dang, this guy’s stronger than I thought.'”SLAMMING THE DOORThe Panthers have been touting James Bradberry as their shutdown cornerback and he did quite a number on Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans, who finished with one catch for 16 yards despite being targeted 10 times.Panthers coach Ron Rivera called Bradberry’s defense “as solid as it gets.”THIEVES AVENUEThe Panthers secondary is coming up with big turnovers this season. Carolina has 11 interceptions at the midway point of the season after just 10 picks last season. Jackson, a rookie, has four of them.“The secondary is shaping up nicely and the more they play together the more chances they will have,” Rivera said.NATIONAL ANTHEMPanthers safety Eric Reid took a knee during the national anthem to protest racial and social injustice.INJURIESBuccaneers: None reported.Panthers: Reid left in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury, but returned to the game.UP NEXTBuccaneers: Host Washington on Sunday.Panthers: Play four of their next five games on the road, beginning Thursday night at Pittsburgh.

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