Matt Araiza was one of the most hyped up NFL punter prospects in recent memory.
Nicknamed “Punt God,” the former San Diego State punter was selected in the sixth round by the Buffalo Bills last year, and beat out veteran punter Matt Haack for the starting spot.
However, he never made it past preseason, after he was named as one of three San Diego State football players in a civil lawsuit accusing the men of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old at a house party.
Although Araiza maintained his innocence, the Bills ultimately released him as the lawsuit loomed.
But, in December it was reported that Araiza would not face any charges, and earlier this month a transcript of a meeting between a deputy district attorney and the alleged victim and her attorneys surfaced, revealing Araiza was not present at the home when the alleged rape happened, according to CBS Sports.
Araiza remained hopeful that teams would take a second look at him, with the threat of criminal charges behind him and evidence emerging to clear him of wrongdoing.
And now it looks like he’s getting his shot at the NFL once again, as NFL insider Adam Schefter announced that the New York Jets are working out the current free-agent punter:
“Jets are working out free-agent punter Matt Araiza today, his agent JL Sports confirmed.”
In Araiza’s final season at San Diego State, he averaged 51.19 yards per punt, breaking an NCAA record.
On punts in between the 30 yard lines in 2021, Araiza put 63% inside the 20-yard line, and 27% inside the 10 with an average field position at the 16-yard line.
The punter still faces a civil lawsuit, so that may potentially give NFL teams pause, not knowing what will come out at any potential trial or during the course of the lawsuit. And the Jets also recently signed veteran punter Thomas Morstead to a one-year, $1.1 million guaranteed deal.
But with numbers like Araiza’s, it’s hard to imagine a team won’t be willing to give him a hard look.