Albany football star AJ Simon Jr. dies week before NFL Draft

EditorLast Update :
Albany football star AJ Simon Jr. dies week before NFL Draft

Amitral “AJ” Simon Jr., a standout player for the University at Albany football program during its journey to the FCS semifinals, died Wednesday at the age of 25. The program announced Simon’s death in a social media post. It did not disclose the cause.

Simon, originally from Tobyhanna, Pa., played two seasons at UAlbany after beginning his college career at Bloomsburg (Pa.) University. As a 6-foot-1, 267-pound edge rusher, he recorded 17.5 sacks during his time at Albany, 12.5 of which came in the 2023 season, when the team finished with an 11-4 record.

“The UAlbany football program was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former student-athlete Amitral ‘AJ’ Simon this morning,” the school’s post read. “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. He will be profoundly missed.”

Simon left school after the 2023 season and was hoping to be selected in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft.

“The No. 1 constant from his tape was the effort,” The Athletic’s Dane Brugler said of Simon, “which earned him a lot of attention from NFL teams the last few months. I thought his competitive play personality gave him a legitimate chance to stick in the NFL, either as a late-round draft pick or priority free agent. His passing is heartbreaking news for so many people, including the NFL community.”

(Photo: Matthew Lynch / Cal Sport Media via Associated Press)