Former NFL player dies just shy of 26th birthday

Jessie Lemonier, who previously played in the NFL, has passed away at the age of 25.

He would have turned 26 on Tuesday, according to Sports Illustrated. His agent, Drew Smith, informed ESPN that the athlete and his girlfriend were expecting a baby.

“We are shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of former Detroit Lion Jessie Lemonier,” the Lions said in a statement. “Jessie was a model teammate and wonderful young man who is gone far too soon. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”

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The athlete, who had played for Liberty University, signed with the Los Angeles Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2020, according to reports, and he appeared in six games with that NFL team. Lemonier appeared in seven games during his time with the Detroit Lions. He was picked up by the Arizona Cardinals last year but was released.

“The Liberty Athletics family is deeply saddened to learn about the passing of former Flames football great Jessie Lemonier,” a message shared on Liberty University’s Liberty Football account reads. “Jessie was loved by Flames Nation for being a fierce competitor on the gridiron and cherished by his coaches and teammates in the locker room. Liberty Athletics will continue to keep his family and friends in our prayers that God may bring peace and comfort to them during the difficult days ahead.”

The Los Angeles Chargers tweeted, “Gone too soon. our hearts are with jessie’s family, friends and loved ones.”

Lemonier recently signed with the USFL’s Houston Gamblers and had been traded to the Birmingham Stallions.

“The USFL family was shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of Jessie Lemonier,” a USFL spokesperson noted, according to WRBC. “He was a talented football player and by all accounts a wonderful person. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”

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