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NFL Draft prospect AJ Simon dead at 25

NFL Draft prospect and pass rusher Amitral “AJ” Simon has died at the age of 25.

Simon’s alma mater, the University at Albany, announced his death Wednesday, posting on social media that Simon was a “forever Great Dane.”

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

“AJ is a great young man and an even better teammate throughout his time at Albany. He is a role model on and off the field and has served as a pillar of our program for the past two years.

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AJ Simon points his finger

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

“He will be sorely missed.”

The details of Simon’s death have not yet been revealed.

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Simon is a first-team All-CAA defensive end who helped Albany reach the semifinals in the FCS playoffs last season.

Great Danes head coach Greg Gattuso wrote about Simon in X.

AJ Simon lines up before the game

On September 30, 2023, the UAlbany football team hosted No. 16 Villanova at Bob Ford Field at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium in Albany, New York. (University of Albany Great Dane)

“It’s been a fun two years. [sic] I look forward to coaching and becoming friends with AJ Simon,” he wrote, “My prayers go out to the Simon family. I love AJ and #8 will always be my It will always hold a special place in my heart.”

The New England Patriots used one of their pre-draft visit slots last week with Simon, indicating he could be drafted next week. However, experts were considering whether he would go in the later rounds or sign with the team as an undrafted free agent.

Simon began his collegiate career at Bloomsburg University before transferring to Albany in 2022, where he totaled 29 tackles, four-and-a-half sacks, and one interception.

AJ Simon leads the team on the field.

On November 4, 2023, the Albany football team welcomed No. 24 William & Mary at Bob Ford Field at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium in Albany, New York. (University of Albany Great Dane)

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

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