Sports

NFL Draft prospect AJ Simon dead at 25

Amitral “AJ” Simon, a pass rusher who was an NFL Draft prospect, has died at the age of 25. 

Simon’s school, the University of Albany, announced his death Wednesday, posting on social media that he was “Forever a Great Dane.”

“The UAlbany football program was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former student-athlete Amitral “AJ” Simon this morning,” a team statement said. 

“AJ was a tremendous young man and even better teammate throughout his time at UAlbany. He was a role model both on and off the field, serving as a pillar to this program over the last two years.

AJ Simon points at finger

University of Albany football player AJ Simon celebrates.  (UAlbany Great Danes)

“He will be profoundly missed.”

Details of how Simon died have not yet been disclosed.

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Simon was a first-team All-CAA defensive end, helping Albany to a semifinal appearance in the FCS playoffs last season. 

Greg Gattuso, the Great Danes’ head coach, wrote about Simon on X. 

AJ Simon lines up before play

The UAlbany football team hosted No. 16 Villanova at Bob Ford Field at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium in Albany, N.Y., Sept. 30, 2023. (UAlbany Great Danes)

“Two joyous year [sic] coaching and becoming friends with AJ Simon,” he wrote. “My prayers are dedicated to the Simon family. I love you AJ and will always have a special place in my heart for #8.”

The New England Patriots used one of their pre-draft visit slots with Simon last week, showing his chances of being drafted next week. However, experts had him going in the late rounds or signing with a team as an undrafted free agent. 

Simon started his collegiate career at Bloomsburg University before moving to Albany in 2022, where he totaled 29 tackles and 4½ sacks with one interception. 

AJ Simon leads team out onto field

The UAlbany football team hosted No. 24 William & Mary at Bob Ford Field at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium in Albany, N.Y., Nov. 4, 2023. (UAlbany Great Danes)

Last season, Simon had 50 tackles with 12 sacks and two passes defended. 

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