Gone too soon. Jessie Lemonier was a linebacker who played for the NFL and the United States Football League (USFL) before his death at age 25.
“We are shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of former Detroit Lion Jessie Lemonier,” the Detroit Lions wrote on Thursday, January 26, in a statement shared via Twitter. “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.” The football player’s cause of death has not been revealed at this time.
Amid the news of the athlete’s passing, his agent Drew Smith confirmed to ESPN that Lemonier and his girlfriend were expecting their first child. The identity of his partner has not been revealed.
Lemonier got his start playing college football for Virginia’s Liberty University in 2018. During this collegiate career, he earned MVP honors in the 2019 Cure Bowl and helped his alma mater score their first-ever bowl game victory.
After his time with the Flames, Lemonier was not selected in the 2020 NFL draft. However, he later signed with the Los Angeles Chargers as an undrafted free agent in April 2020. During his time with the Chargers, he appeared in six games and made two tackles.
He spent the 2021 season with the Lions, first on their practice squad and then, after being promoted, on their main roster. During his time in Detroit, Lemonier appeared in seven games and finished with 15 total tackles and 1.5 sacks. One of his most notable plays during his tenure with the Lions was when he sacked star quarterback Aaron Rodgers in a game against the Green Bay Packers.
In May 2022, he was put on waivers by the Lions which made him eligible to be picked up by another team. He was later claimed by the Arizona Cardinals. He was ultimately released by the team three months later.
Following his exit from the Cardinals, the Florida native was selected by the minor league football team Arlington Renegades in the 2023 XFL draft. However, instead of joining the XFL league, he opted to play with the USFL instead. In December 2022, Lemonier decided to sign as a free agent with USFL minor league team the Houston Gamblers. He was later traded to the Birmingham Stallions, who are the current champions of the league.
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