American football player Jessie Lemonier has died at the age of 25, the National Football League (NFL) team Detroit Lions announced on Thursday.
"We are shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of former Detroit Lion Jessie Lemonier," the NFL team 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," it added.
January 26, 2023
A cause of death has yet to be made public. Mr Lemonie was due to turn 26 on Tuesday. Speaking to ESPN, his agent, Drew Smith, said that the NFL player had also been expecting a child with his girlfriend.
According to the BBC, Mr Lemonier began his professional career with the Los Angeles Charges in 2020 after his college career at Liberty University. He then spent the 2021 season with the Detroit Lions, where he recorded 17 total tackles and one and a half sacks in seven games.
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Taking to Twitter, Liberty University also paid tribute to him. "The Liberty Athletics family is deeply saddened to learn about the passing of former Flames football great Jessie Lemonier," the university said. "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," it added.
Mr Lemonier joined the Arizona Cardinals in May 2022 but he was released at the end of their August training camp that year. He had been without an NFL side since, but he was recently set to play for the Birmingham Stallions in the new US Football League season, which starts in April.