According to a report from ESPN’s Eric Woodyard, former Detroit Lions linebacker Jessie Lemonier has passed away at the age of 25. No cause of death was given.
Lemonier spent a full season with the Lions in 2021. Signed initially to the practice squad at the start of the regular season, Lemonier finally got his chance to get on the field for Detroit’s final seven games of the season. Over that time, he played in 161 defensive snaps, started two games, and tallied 1.5 sacks.
“He’s a guy that has this laid-back (attitude),” Lions linebacker coach Kelvin Sheppard said in December of 2021. “I tell him he belongs on the beach because he has this laid-back demeanor to him. He needs to be pushed. As long as you push him, you hold him accountable, he answers that bell every time. I’m definitely impressed with his growth and development.”
Lemonier spent last offseason with the Arizona Cardinals but didn’t make the final 53-man roster. This past November, he was taken in the 2023 XFL Draft, but he instead chose to sign with the USFL Houston Gamblers. He was traded to the Birmingham Stallions and set to play there when the league opened back up in this spring.
This is way too young for a young man to lose his life. Our thoughts are with those who were close to Jessie, including his family, friends, and former teammates.
UPDATE: The Lions confirmed the news and offered a statement:
January 26, 2023