Mexico: Galgos de Tijuana sign former Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza

The Galgos de Tijuana of Mexico’s Liga de Fútbol Americano Profesional, LFA, have signed former Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza for the 2023 season.

The 6’0″, 200-pound native of San Diego, California is entering his first year in Mexico, with the goal of helping to change the Galgos organization’s fortunes. Tijuana finished their first season as a franchise last year with a 0-6 record, being the only team to miss the playoffs and the first ever team in league history to be winless.

Araiza was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draft and stayed with Buffalo during training camp and the preseason before he was released from the team unceremoniously in August following accusations of sexual assault of a female student, accusations which were later proven untrue.

He had played for his hometown San Diego State University from 2018 to 2021 (NCAA Div. I) where he punted 84times for 4,293 yards averaging 51.1 yards per punt during his career. He was also the team’s kicker during this time, making 73.5 % if his field goal attempts and 99% of his extra point tries. Araiza’s standout season came in his senior year, where he finished the season averaging 51.19 yards per punt, breaking the all-time NCAA record, was awarded the Ray Guy Award as the best punter in the nation, and became the first unanimous All-American for San Diego State since Marshall Faulk.

Despite being a highly regarded pick from college was never able to suit up on the field for the Bills as on August 26, 2022, he was named as a defendant along with two former teammates from SDSU for allegedly gang raping a then-17-year-old girl (who was under the age of consent by California state law) at an off-campus party.

After he was cut from the team the following day, Araiza and his lawyers continued to deny the allegations claiming it was a money grab. Several months later in December, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office decided not to press charges against Araiza or his teammates because the prosecutors did not feel there was a path to conviction for any of them.

However, the civil case against Araiza is still pending. In court documents filed last month, Araiza maintains his innocence and claims the interaction between him and the young woman was consensual.

Now, with months of litigation behind him, the man referred to as “Punt God,” is ready for a comeback, with the hope that he could represent his father’s hometown city with pride and help the Galgos get to the playoffs for the first time.

The Galgos play in the 27,000-seat Caliente Stadium and will open their second season in the LFA on March 5 against Mexicas in Mexico City.

A recent graduate of Hofstra University in New York. He is currently a sports freelance journalist and podcaster