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Chiefs Snap Up Potential Steelers Punter Target Matt Araiza



Pittsburgh Steelers free agent target punter Matt Araiza

The Kansas City Chiefs are signing former Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza, according to a report by Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.

Araiza, nicknamed the “Punt God,” was a highly-touted prospect out of San Diego State that was drafted in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Bills. He seemed likely to take over the team’s punting duties as a rookie but that didn’t happen when he was abruptly released late in August, one day after he was named as a defendant in a civil lawsuit alleging a gang rape of a minor involving Araiza and his San Diego State teammates.

Araiza denied the allegations from the beginning of the process. Criminal charges were not filed against any of the alleged participants. Araiza admitted that he had sex with his accuser, but claimed it was consensual and that she lied about her age. He later counter-sued for defamation. Ultimately, both lawsuits were dropped this past December, with neither party admitting wrongdoing.

It’s unclear if Araiza could possibly face NFL discipline stemming from the event. He has not been signed by or worked out with another NFL team since the lawsuits were dropped. 

The Steelers had been linked to Araiza by Pittsburgh native and former NFL punter Pat McAfee, who said he’d be a fit for the Steelers. Pittsburgh released incumbent punter Pressley Harvin III earlier this offseason and do not currently have one on their 90-man offseason roster.

“After watching his film and how he punts, Matt Araiza is a guy that would be able potentially to handle the AFC North stadiums”, McAfee said on his show earlier this month. “You have to have a very strong leg, just like Pressley Harvin did”.

Chiefs punter Tommy Townsend, who won two Super Bowls with the club and was a first-team All-Pro in 2022, is set to become a free agent.