Former Bills and San Diego State punter Matt Araiza — who was cut last year after being accused of participating in a gang rape of an underage woman — is attempting to return to the NFL after prosecutors declined to file charges.
Araiza’s road back began when he worked out with the Jets in May. On Tuesday, he was featured on “HBO Real Sports.” And, according to reporter Andrea Kremer, Gang Green would be willing to sign the former Ray Guy Award winner.
“They said they vetted him extensively,” Kremer said, citing a conversation with Jets general manager Joe Douglas.
“They got approval from their owner … they will bring him in if they need to. They feel he deserves the opportunity for a second chance.”
At the least: The Jets have Araiza on their list of punters they could try to sign if there is a need, whether it be an injury to veteran Thomas Morstead or a desire to bring a second leg in for training camp.
At the most: The Jets want to do the latter, and maybe carry Araiza on the practice squad, and they gave this nugget to Kremer as a trial balloon.
Araiza has admitted he had sex with the accuser at the college party in question. He was not charged with statutory rape because police said the accuser told him she was 18.
Araiza’s accuser still alleges he raped her and is pursuing a civil case. Araiza told HBO Real Sports he will not settle and he plans to sue her attorney for defamation. Some NFL teams may want to wait those issues out. Because while Araiza may not have broken a law, his character and judgment is still very much in question.
Last thing: The Jets gave Morstead over $1 million in guaranteed money this offseason. And they are trying to win the Super Bowl. So they’re not going to mess around with their punting situation.
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