After down season, Matt Prater’s future with Lions is up in the air

Detroit News

Justin Rogers
| The Detroit News

There’s plenty of uncertainty with the Detroit Lions entering this offseason, namely who the team will hire as its next general manager and head coach. There’s also uncertainty at a number of spots on the roster, and unlike most years for the past three decades, kicker is one. 

With only a brief interruption between Jason Hanson and Matt Prater, the Lions have had one of the league’s most-consistent kicking situations. But Prater’s contract is expiring this season and the 36-year-old is inexplicably coming off one of the worst seasons of his career. 

“For me, personally, it’s been frustrating,” Prater said. “I’ve missed some kicks I expect to make, been inconsistent, but feel like I’m still hitting ’em strong and hitting ’em well. Just have not been as consistent as I would’ve liked to be.”

Is it an anomaly or the first sign of a larger decline? Prater confidently said his leg strength hasn’t been an issue, and he praised first-year holder Jack Fox as being close to perfect all year. 

Prater can’t put a finger on the issue that has him converting just 74.1 percent of his field-goal attempts (20-of-27) in 2020, nine percentage points off his career average and checking in 26th among the league’s 32 qualifying kickers. He does know one thing though — he plans on playing in 2021 and he wants to do it in Detroit. 

“The easiest thing, obviously, would be to stay here with the kids and (we’re) kind of established here and we love being here and living in Michigan,” Prater said. “Yeah, I would love to continue playing and hopefully it would be here.” 

More: ‘I got very lucky’: Lions’ Frank Ragnow breaks silence after scary injury

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