Punter Matt Araiza Signs With the Kansas City Chiefs

Free agent punter Matt Araiza signed with the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday, returning to the NFL after a two-year absence.

Free agent punter Matt Araiza signed a contract with the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday, as his agents at JL Sports announced on social media.

Araiza was accused of gang rape in a 2022 civil lawsuit and subsequently waived by the Buffalo Bills. In May 2023, prosecutors declined to file charges against Araiza. In December, Araiza and his accused agreed to drop their lawsuits against each other.

Chiefs Sign P Matt Araiza

“We are proud to announce that our client, Matt Araiza, has signed with the Chiefs,” JL Sports said in a statement. “We are grateful to (GM) Brett Veach, coach (Andy) Reid and the Chiefs organization for giving Matt this opportunity.”

“Matt has been to hell and back in the last 18 months. He has handled himself with grace.”

Araiza, nicknamed the “Punt God” following his run at San Diego State, was selected by the Bills in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Buffalo was “made aware” of the alleged rape after the draft, looked into the incident, and decided to retain Araiza.

However, graphic allegations included in a civil lawsuit against Araiza changed the Bills’ stance. Buffalo released Araiza on Aug. 27, 2022, one day after the lawsuit was released.

San Diego police reportedly worked on the case for 10 months before sending it to the district attorney without a recommendation for prosecution. Together, police and prosecutors interviewed more than 35 witnesses and executed 10 search warrants.

Investigators determined Araiza had left the party in question before the alleged incident occurred. He was not present in any video evidence recovered from the evening of the alleged assault.

“I am proud and honored to sign a contract with the Chiefs,” Araiza said in a statement. “I am thrilled to be able to continue my NFL career.

“I want to thank my family, who have been my rock, and my many friends, who have been unwavering in their support.”

KEEP READING: 2024 NFL Free Agents by Position

Araiza worked out for the New York Jets in May 2023 but did not sign a contract. He has not punted since the 2022 preseason.

Incumbent Chiefs punter Tommy Townsend, a first-team All-Pro in 2022, is a pending free agent.

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