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Accused and cleared of rape allegations, former Bills punter Matt Araiza is working out with New York Jets

Though there was widespread doubt about whether he would have a future in the NFL, it seems the former Bills punter has been training with another team.

Though there was widespread doubt about whether he would have a future in the NFL, it seems the former Bills punter has been training with another team.
Michael Hickey

Following the disturbing allegations made against him, the one-time Bills punter saw his career cut short, but it appears that was not the end of the road for his fledgling career. The question now is whether we will see him in the league once again.

Matt Araiza is training with the New York Jets

According to reports, former Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza is potentially on the road to an NFL return following his involvement in an incident which saw him accused of rape. As per reports, the 23-year-old is said to have been working out with the New York Jets on Wednesday.

Regarding who Araiza is, the promising player was drafted after a sensational stretch at San Diego State, where he became known as “Punt God.” Indeed, Araiza wrote his name into collegiate history with an NCAA record of 51.2 yards on average per punt. To that end, the Bills quickly acquired him and then in turn touted him as their starter, however, he never actually saw the field during the regular season. Last August, the franchise suddenly released Araiza, after a report two days prior confirmed that he had been named in a civil suit which alleged that he, along with two former teammates gang raped a minor at a house party in 2021. The Bills immediately faced scrutiny for not having taken a definitive stance sooner.

With a clean slate, can Matt Araiza move forward?

If you’ve been following, you will recall that back in December the San Diego District Attorney’s Office announced that Araiza would not face any criminal charges. In its explanation, the office stated that sexual assault experts, district attorney prosecutors and investigators had all had the opportunity to review evidence in the case, and had subsequently determined that Araiza was not present during the alleged sexual assault. Further to that, the University itself announced that it found no wrongdoing by its star punter. For his part, Araiza claimed that any sexual contact which occurred between him and the woman was consensual, before stating that he believed her to be 18 years old.

What is Matt Araiza’s current situation

As things stand, it’s understood that the young woman and her legal team are still maintaining their stance and pursuit of a civil case against Araiza. Just last week, her attorney said to the media that “SDSU’s investigation has this garbage-in-garbage-out dilemma: SDSU did not investigate anything for nearly a year, and when it allegedly started, SDSU never spoke to my client.” To be clear, there is no indication as to how the scenario will progress after Araiza was officially cleared of any criminality.

For the moment, what we can say is that he’s got a trial with another team - the Jets - and that as they say, is that. Should Araiza manage to secure a spot on New York’s roster, he will have to contest with the fact that just last month the team acquired veteran punter, Thomas Morstead. Of course, we imagine the Jets considered that when they took the decision to work with him. On the other hand, if he fails to secure a contract with the Jets, it will be interesting to see which other team is willing to take a chance on a player that has a pending civil suit due in later this year.