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#pounditTuesday, February 7, 2023

Articles tagged: Matt Araiza

DA reaches decision in Matt Araiza sexual assault case

Matt Araiza smiling on the podium

Mar 5, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; San Diego State place kicker Matt Araiza (PK01) talks to the media during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Araiza was cut by the Buffalo Bills over the summer after he was accused of sexual assault, but the punter will not face criminal charges over the allegations.

The San Diego District Attorney’s Office announced on Wednesday that no criminal charges will be filed against Araiza or the other two members of the 2021 San Diego State football team who were named in a civil lawsuit.

“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 DA’s office said. “Prosecutors can only file charges when they ethically believe they can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Araiza and two of his former San Diego State teammates were named in a lawsuit that was filed on Aug. 25. In the suit, a woman claimed the three men gang-raped her at an off-campus party in October 2021. She was 17 at the time. The allegations against Araiza and the other two former SDSU players were extremely graphic and troubling.

Araiza, who won the Ray Guy Award last year as the best punter in college football, was drafted by the Bills in the sixth round. The team is said to have known about the allegations for weeks before they cut him.

Bills find their replacement for Matt Araiza

Brandon Beane in sunglasses

Jul 28, 2021; Orchard Park, NY, United States; Buffalo Bills GM Brandon Beane on the field after practice at the Buffalo Bills Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills have officially moved on after cutting Matt Araiza.

Peter Schrager of NFL Network reported on Wednesday that the Bills are signing punter Sam Martin. The 32-year-old punter was released by the Denver Broncos earlier this week.

Martin was a fifth-round pick out of Appalachian State in 2013 and spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Detroit Lions before signing with the Broncos in 2020. He was named as an alternate for the Pro Bowl back in 2017 and has averaged a healthy 46.1 yards per punt for his career.

Buffalo just released Araiza, their sixth-round pick this year, amid some very troubling allegations. The upheaval had sent the team scrambling, and they were forced to use a bizarre punter for a recent preseason game.

With almost a decade of NFL experience to his name, Martin should be able to get the job done for a Bills offense with so much firepower that they might not even need him all that often. Martin just has to make sure he does not hurt himself in warmups again like he did a couple of weeks ago.

Bills explain decision to cut Matt Araiza amid allegations

Matt Araiza punts the ball

Bills rookie punter Matt Araiza sends a kick downfield on the opening day of the Buffalo Bills training camp at St. John Fisher University in Rochester Sunday, July 24, 2022. Photo Credit: Shawn Dowd / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Buffalo Bills on Saturday decided to cut Matt Araiza, days after the punter was accused of having a role in a gang-rape of a 17-year-old girl in October 2021.

The Bills selected Araiza in the sixth round of April’s NFL Draft out of San Diego State. The team cut veteran punter Matt Haack on Monday, which made Araiza the team’s starting punter. Three days later, Araiza was named in a civil lawsuit filed by a woman who alleges Araiza and two other members of the 2021 San Diego State football team were part of a gang rape she was the victim of at an off-campus party in October.

Araiza, 22, is accused of having sex with the then-17-year-old and then taking her to a bedroom where he put her face down on a bed and others began having sex with her.

The Bills were apparently aware of the allegation as recently as July. It wasn’t until the civil suit was filed that they cut the former Ray Guy Award winner.

“This afternoon, we decided that this was the best thing,” GM Brandon Beane said. “Our culture here is more important than winning football games.”

With Araiza off the roster, the Bills are now looking for a new punter. They already have begun making plans to bring in potential candidates.

Bills preparing to move on from Matt Araiza?

Matt Araiza smiling on the podium

Mar 5, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; San Diego State place kicker Matt Araiza (PK01) talks to the media during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills have faced criticism for their handling of the situation surrounding punter Matt Araiza, and a new report suggests the team may be getting ready to part ways with the rookie.

Araiza was named in a civil lawsuit alleging he sexually assaulted a minor while at San Diego State, and the Bills held him out of Friday’s preseason game as a result. On Saturday, Tim Graham of The Athletic reported that the Bills are quietly reaching out to agents of free agent punters about setting up tryouts.

If the Bills are looking into punters, it certainly suggests that they are either moving on from Araiza or are expecting to be without him. The rookie only won the punting job at the start of the week, as the team decided to release Matt Haack in favor of the sixth-round selection. Reports have indicated that the Bills were aware of the allegations against Araiza at the time they opted to give him the job.

The Bills do not have any other punters on the roster, and had to resort to a very unorthodox option during Friday’s preseason game. That obviously would not be tenable in the regular season.

Bills update Matt Araiza’s status for preseason finale

Matt Araiza smiling on the podium

Mar 5, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; San Diego State place kicker Matt Araiza (PK01) talks to the media during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills are keeping punter Matt Araiza despite troubling sexual assault allegations, but they will not be featuring him during Friday’s preseason finale.

Araiza will not punt for the Bills Friday against the Carolina Panthers, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. There does not appear to be any clarity regarding Araiza’s status going forward beyond that.

Araiza, a sixth-round pick in April’s NFL Draft, won the Bills’ punting job on Monday when the team released veteran Matt Haack. On Thursday, he was named as a defendant in a civil suit in which he was accused of taking part in the gang-rape of a 17-year-old girl while at San Diego State. It was reported on Friday that the Bills were aware of the allegations against Araiza when they decided to keep him instead of Haack.

As of Friday, Araiza remains the only punter listed on Buffalo’s roster. It remains to be seen who will handle punting duties in the preseason finale and, indeed, going forward.

Bills knew about Matt Araiza issue

Matt Araiza smiling on the podium

Mar 5, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; San Diego State place kicker Matt Araiza (PK01) talks to the media during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie punter Matt Araiza and two of his former college teammates are facing some extremely troubling allegations, and it turns out the Buffalo Bills have known about the situation for quite some time.

A civil lawsuit was filed on Thursday in San Diego County Superior Court that accuses Araiza and two current San Diego State football players of gang-raping a then-17-year-old girl. According to Tim Graham of The Athletic, the Bills have known about the allegations for several weeks.

Dan Gilleon, the attorney representing the alleged victim, also shared some screenshots of text messages that prove both Araiza and the Bills were made aware of the accusations as far back as July. Gilleon reached out to Araiza on July 30. He received a response from Araiza’s lawyer Kerry Armstrong, and the two exchanged some unpleasantries.

The alleged victim, now 18, says in the suit that she was sexually assaulted at an off-campus party that began on the night of Oct. 16, with the assault occurring early the next day. The woman was in high school at the time of the alleged incident. You can read more details from the lawsuit here.

Araiza was a star punter on the Aztecs last year before being drafted by the Bills in April. Zavier Leonard and Nowlin “Pa’a” Ewaliko are the other players who were named in the suit. Leonard is listed on the Aztecs’ roster as a redshirt freshman, while Ewaliko was a freshman on last year’s roster but is not on the current roster.

Araiza won the Ray Guy Award last year as the best punter in college football. Nicknamed the “Punt God” for his incredible punting ability, Araiza was a sixth-round pick by the Bills.

Punter Matt Araiza accused of sexually assaulting minor

Matt Araiza smiling on the podium

Mar 5, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; San Diego State place kicker Matt Araiza (PK01) talks to the media during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Three members of the 2021 San Diego State football team, including current Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza, have been accused of sexually assaulting a minor during a 2021 incident.

A civil lawsuit was filed on Thursday in San Diego County Superior Court that accuses Araiza and two of his San Diego State football teammates of gang-raping a then-17-year-old girl.

The woman, now 18, says in the suit that she was sexually assaulted at an off-campus party that began on the night of Oct. 16, with the assault occurring early the next day. The woman was in high school at the time of the alleged incident.

The LA Times provides some sexual details about the allegations found in the suit:

“According to the lawsuit, the teen told Araiza she was a high school student and, even though he could see she was highly intoxicated, he told her to perform oral sex, then had sex with her. Then Araiza took her to a bedroom where [Zavier] Leonard, [Nowlin] Ewaliko and at least one other man were, the complaint alleged, and threw her down on the bed face first. The lawsuit said she was raped for an hour and a half until the party was shut down,” the Times reports.

The lawsuit says the woman immediately told her friends she had been raped. She went to police the next day and then went to the hospital where she underwent a rape exam.

Araiza was a star punter on the Aztecs last year before being drafted by the Bills in April. Zavier Leonard and Nowlin “Pa’a” Ewaliko are the other players who were named in the suit. Leonard is listed on the Aztecs’ roster as a redshirt freshman, while Ewaliko was a freshman on last year’s roster but is not on the current roster.

Araiza won the Ray Guy Award last year as the best punter in college football. Nicknamed the “Punt God” for his incredible punting ability, Araiza was drafted in the sixth round.

Josh Allen wants new nickname for Bills’ ‘Punt God’

Josh Allen with a hat on

Aug 28, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) walks to the field prior to the game against the Green Bay Packers at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills have handed their punting job over to rookie Matt Araiza, also known as the “Punt God.” That viral nickname has become quite popular, but Josh Allen is not a huge fan of it.

Allen said Monday that he does not really want Araiza’s “Punt God” tag to stick. The quarterback proposed the nickname “Hold God” instead, because he does not want Araiza on the field to punt very often.

Pretty solid reasoning from Allen. If the Bills are punting, it means he and the offense didn’t do what they wanted to do, even if it gives Araiza the opportunity to uncork one of his crazy punts.

Regardless of what his nickname turns out to be, Araiza should prove hugely popular among Bills fans. They, like Allen, just won’t want to see him punting too often.

Video: Bills punter uncorks crazy 82-yard punt

Matt Araiza hits an 82-yard punt.

Buffalo Bills rookie punter Matt Araiza is already living up to his “Punt God” nickname.

The Bills beat the Indianapolis Colts 27-24 on Saturday during both teams’ first preseason game of 2022. With the Colts leading 10-7 near the end of the first half, Araiza lined up all the way back around the Bills’ five-yard line for his first punt of the game.

Araiza caught the snap, took a few steps forward and unloaded a booming 82-yard punt with his left foot at around the eight-yard line.

The ball landed around the Indianapolis 15-yard line and rolled into the end zone for a touchback.

Talk about a huge swing in the field position battle.

The 22-year-old’s punt fell 16 yards shy of the 98-yard NFL record set by New York Jets rookie punter Steve O’Neal in 1969.

Araiza was drafted out of San Diego State in the sixth round with the No. 180 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. It is somewhat rare for a college punter to be drafted, but last year’s Ray Guy Award-winner for the most outstanding punter in college football was known for some roaring punts during his college career.

In 14 games last season, Araiza averaged 51.2 yards per punt and had 4,044 total punting yards on 79 attempts. He also made 18-of-28 field goals and drilled all 45 of his extra point tries.

While Araiza’s punt may have been the highlight of the game for the Bills, the Colts enjoyed a viral moment of their own.

New Buffalo draft pick already endearing himself to Bills Mafia

Brandon Beane in sunglasses

Jul 28, 2021; Orchard Park, NY, United States; Buffalo Bills GM Brandon Beane on the field after practice at the Buffalo Bills Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Araiza clearly knows how to win over a crowd right from the jump.

The Buffalo Bills drafted Araiza, a punter from San Diego State, in the sixth round on Saturday with the No. 180 overall pick. Araiza wasted absolutely no time endearing himself to the team’s fanbase, known collectively as “Bills Mafia.” The 21-year-old immediately called for someone to get him a table.

That sounds that you just heard was the Bills faithful chanting, “One of us! One of us!”

Bills Mafia is perhaps most well-known for their raucous tailgating antics, including jumping through folding tables in the parking lot, of course.

Dreams of furniture destruction aside, there are plenty of other reasons to root for Araiza, who is nicknamed “Punt God.” Araiza earned the Ray Guy Award for most outstanding punter in college football last season and has gone viral before for a number of roaring kicks.

Now all Araiza needs to do is actually film himself jumping through a table like this now-teammate of his once did.