Jets work out punter Matt Araiza after San Diego State investigation found no wrongdoing
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — The New York Jets hosted punter Matt Araiza for a workout at the team’s facility Wednesday, six days after a San Diego State investigation found no wrongdoing by him in an alleged gang rape at an off-campus party in October 2021.
Joe Linta, Araiza’s agent, confirmed the punter’s visit with the Jets during an interview on WFAN Sports Radio in New York.
ESPN first reported what is believed to be Araiza’s first workout for an NFL team since he was released by Buffalo last August.
The session with the Jets could prompt other teams to bring in Araiza, who has maintained his innocence on the allegations.
The workout with New York didn’t necessarily mean a signing was imminent. The Jets already have an established punter on the roster after signing veteran Thomas Morstead to a $1.3 million contract that includes $1.1 million in guarantees.
The San Diego District Attorney decided late last year to not press criminal charges against Araiza, who had a lawsuit filed by a woman against him and two other former SDSU players. The women alleged in the suit that Araiza, then 21, had sex with her in a side yard at an off-campus house before bringing her into a bedroom where a group of men took turns raping her.
The woman, who was 17 at the time, reported the alleged rape the following day to the San Diego Police Department, which investigated the allegations for nine months before turning over its investigation to prosecutors on Aug. 5.
Earlier this month, several media outlets obtained an audio recording of a meeting on Dec. 17 between prosecutors and the woman in which deputy district attorney Trisha Amador said she concluded, based on a witness statement, that Araiza “wasn’t even at the party anymore” when the alleged gang rape could have occurred and wasn’t visible in videos that were recovered. The witness testimony was included in evidence that prompted the DA to not press criminal charges against Araiza.
Last Thursday, San Diego State University announced the results of its internal investigation, with the school saying in a statement to Yahoo Sports that “There are no findings against Matt Araiza.” The school also said none of the former students named in a civil suit are the subject of a current investigation, although it reserved the right to “reinstate” an investigation if there are new developments.
Araiza was nicknamed the “Punt God” and honored as a consensus All-American in 2021 for his booming kicks that helped SDSU to a school-best 12-2 season in his senior year. He was selected by the Bills in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL draft.
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