Tragedy struck on Thursday as former Detroit Lions linebacker Jessie Lemonier reportedly passed away at just 25 years of age. Per Eric Woodyard of ESPN:
“Former Detroit Lions LB Jessie Lemonier has passed away, a source confirms to ESPN. Lemonier appeared in 7 games in Detroit during the 2021 season.”
Lemonier was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2020 by the Los Angeles Chargers after a standout college career at Liberty. He later latched on with the Lions practice squad before being elevated to the 53-man roster for a handful of contests, collecting 1.5 sacks in 161 snaps. Lemonier was ultimately waived by Detroit and then signed with the Arizona Cardinals but failed to make the team. He was set to play in the USFL for the Birmingham Stallions in the upcoming season.
It’s unknown at this point how Jessie Lemonier died, but needless to say, 25 is far too young. The Lions released a statement shortly after the news:
“We are shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of former Detroit Lion Jessie Lemonier,” the team said. “Jessie was a model teammate and wonderful young man who is gone far too soon. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”
Lions linebacker coach Kelvin Sheppard once praised Lemonier for his “growth” during the stint with Detroit. Via Michigan Live:
“He’s a guy that has this laid-back (vibe),” Lions linebacker coach Kelvin Sheppard once said. “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.”