Chiefs sign punter Matt Araiza, who was dropped from lawsuit in December after alleged rape

Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza warms up in 2022 before the team's NFL football game against the Denver Broncos in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus, File)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs are signing punter Matt Araiza, who was dropped from a lawsuit in December that had been filed by a woman who alleged she was raped by San Diego State football players in 2021.

The signing was announced by Araiza’s agent, Joe Linta, and confirmed a short while later by the team.


“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. I am excited to begin the next phase of my career with the Super Bowl champs!”

Araiza earned the nickname the “Punt God” at San Diego State while earning All-America honors during the 2021 season, when his massive kicks helped the Aztecs go a school-best 12-2 his senior season. He was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL draft, but he was released two days after the woman filed her lawsuit.

She alleged that she was 17 and attending an off-campus party in October 2021 when Araiza, then 21, had sex with her in a side yard at an off-campus house. The woman then claimed he brought her to a bedroom, where a group of men took turns raping her, but Araiza has said he never entered the home during the party and left before the alleged rape occurred.

The woman reported the alleged assault to San Diego police the following day, and her lawsuit was filed in August 2022.

Araiza and most of the other players named in the lawsuit claimed that their encounters with her were consensual.

After a month-long investigation, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office said in December it would not file criminal charges. An audio recording was released of a meeting 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 rape could have occurred and he wasn’t visible in videos that were recovered.

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