Jessie Lemonier, a linebacker who played for the Los Angeles Chargers and Detroit Lions, passed away at the age of 25 on Thursday. No further details have been provided regarding the cause of his sudden death. Family, friends, coaches, and teammates are remembering him as a wonderful human being.
Lemonier was born on January 31, 1997 – his death comes just five days before his 26th birthday. He first started to make a name for himself at Ventura College in Ventura, California, where he spent his first season of college football. At the end of the 2017 season, he made the transfer to Liberty University.
He went on to play 25 games for the Liberty Flames over the next two seasons, recording 135 tackles, 29.0 tackles for loss, 20.5 sacks (at least 10.0 sacks in each season), and 3 forced fumbles. He played along the defensive line and declared for the 2020 NFL Draft with hopes of playing in the big leagues.
While Jessie Lemonier went undrafted in the 2020 NFL Draft, he was later signed by the Los Angeles Chargers as an undrafted free agent. He failed to make the 53-man roster and was sent to the practice squad by the start of the regular season, but was promoted to the active roster three weeks later.
Lemonier made his NFL debut on September 27 as a special teams player and took his first snaps as an NFL linebacker the following week. He recorded his first tackle later that season and finished his 2020 campaign with two tackles and two QB hits in six games played. He was released during the offseason.
His next stop in the NFL was the Detroit Lions. While he didn’t appear in the team’s first 10 games, he did play in the team’s final 7 games (2 starts) and played a total of 161 defensive snaps during that span. He finished the season with 15 tackles, 1.0 tackle for loss, 1.5 sacks, and three quarterback hits with Detroit.
Unfortunately, the Lions didn’t feel a need to bring him back and, instead, waived him in May of last year. He was immediately picked up by the Arizona Cardinals, but was released a month before the regular season began. It was the last stop in the NFL for Jessie Lemonier before his sudden death on Thursday.
Jessie Lemonier Remembered as a Model Teammate
Jessie Lemonier never rose to stardom in the NFL, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t make an impression on his teammates and coaches. In the moments following the news of his death, the LA Chargers wrote, “gone too soon. our hearts are with Jessie’s family, friends and loved ones 💙” on their social media.
The Detroit Lions also posted their love and support for his family. “We are shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of former Detroit Lion Jessie Lemonier. Jessie was a model teammate and wonderful young man who is gone far too soon,” they wrote on Twitter, sending their sincere thoughts and prayers.
Lemonier was looking forward to resurrecting his career this season in the USFL. He was originally going to join the XFL for the 2023 season after being drafted by the Arlington Renegades, but signed with the Houston Gamblers of the USFL on New Year’s Eve. He was later traded to the Birmingham Stallions.
His death comes at the worst time, too. According to Drew Smith of DCE Management, who represented Jessie Lemonier as his agent, the 25-year-old linebacker was expecting a child with his girlfriend. Our hearts go out to the Lemonier family as they learn to live without their loved one – what a tragedy.
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