Jessie Lemonier, who played two seasons in the NFL with Detroit and Los Angeles Chargers, has died, the Lions confirmed on Thursday. He was 25.
“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 a wonderful young man who is gone far too soon. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”
A native of Hialeah, Florida, Lemonier signed with the Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2020 after playing college football at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, Sports Illustrated reported. He later signed with the Lions and was claimed off waivers by the Arizona Cardinals in March 2022 before he was released five months later, according to the magazine.
He was drafted by the XFL’s Arlington Renegades in November 2022 but instead signed with the Houston Gamblers of the USFL for the 2023 season, ESPN reported. He was then traded to the league’s Birmingham Stallions, the sports news outlet reported.
At Liberty, Lemonier won MVP honors in the 2019 Cure Bowl, the team’s first-ever bowl victory, according to The Associated Press. He had 20 1/2 sacks for the Flames, which ranked third in program history at the time, the news outlet reported.
“The Liberty Athletics family is deeply saddened to learn about the passing of former Flames football great Jessie Lemonier,” Liberty University said in a statement. “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.”
Lemonier’s agent, Drew Smith of DEC Management, told ESPN that the lineman and his girlfriend were expecting a child.