The New York Jets have become the first NFL team to give former Bills punter Matt Araiza a workout since the young specialist was cleared of criminal wrongdoing in a rape probe from last year.
Araiza, a sixth-round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2022 and one of the most promising punters in the NFL was cut by Buffalo after a female alleged that he and two other defendants had participated in a gang rape while he was a student at San Diego University.
On Wednesday, it was learned that Araiza had been granted a workout by the New York Jets, Fox News Digital reported.
Araiza immediately proclaimed his innocence on the charges. As Breitbart’s Warner Todd Huston reports, “The civil lawsuit alleged that the incident occurred at an off-campus party when the accuser was 17 years old and under age. Araiza’s attorney immediately called fraud on the claims. ‘It’s a shakedown because he’s now with the Buffalo Bills,’ attorney Kerry Armstrong told the Los Angeles Times. ‘There is no doubt in my mind that Matt Araiza ever raped that girl.'”
Those strong denials did nothing to deter Buffalo from cutting the prized punter. Finally, however, after a lengthy investigation, the facts of the case proved Araiza’s innocence.
“After a ten-month investigation, a newly released 200-page transcript reveals exculpatory evidence that says the former punter wasn’t even present during the supposed incident,” Huston reported.
“Ultimately, prosecutors determined it is clear the evidence does not support the filing of criminal charges and there is no path to a potential criminal conviction,” the San Diego District Attorney’s Office reported. “Prosecutors can only file charges when they ethically believe they can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”
What are Araiza’s chances of making it on the Jets? Not great. In April, New York signed former Saints punter Thomas Morstead to a $1.1 million guaranteed deal. That’s a lot of money for a punter, and it probably means the job is Morstead’s, barring injury. But the workout is a victory for Araiza. Now that a team has broken the ice and worked him out, others will likely give him a shot.
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