Lions look at bringing back kicker Matt Prater

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Indianapolis — After needing three kickers in the 2014 season, the Lions will try to enter the 2015 season with more confidence in their field-goal unit.

The most likely scenario is the Lions re-signing veteran Matt Prater, a pending free agent who said in January he'd like to be back in Detroit. General manager Martin Mayhew indicated Wednesday the feeling was mutual.

"I'm going to meet with Matt's agent down here in Indy," Mayhew said at the NFL combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. "We've been in dialogue about doing a contract with him, and we'll see where it goes."

Meanwhile, the Lions are doing their homework in case negotiations with Prater's camp don't go well. Kickers Josh Lambo from Texas A&M and Kyle Brindza from Notre Dame both had informal interviews with the Lions this week.

Teams typically interview as many prospects as possible during the combine, but even if Prater is back, the Lions could be looking for a rookie kicker to compete with him during training camp.

Last season, the Lions drafted Nate Freese in the seventh round out of Boston College. After winning the job over Giorgio Tavecchio in training camp, Freese made just 3 of 7 field goals the first three games before he was cut. His replacement, Alex Henery, made just 1 of 5 field goals the next two games before he too was cut.

Then, the Lions signed Prater, who was released by the Broncos the previous week. After shaking off some rust his first couple of weeks, Prater played well and finished 21 of 26.

Mayhew said the Lions haven't made final determinations on their veteran free agents, "but there are a number of guys that we've been more active in pursuing than others." Prater, it would seem, is among those the Lions are pursuing.