NFL draft hopeful AJ Simon of Albany dead at 25

AJ Simon, a defensive lineman from the University at Albany who was hoping to be drafted into the NFL next week, died at age 25, the school confirmed Wednesday.

Simon played four seasons of football at the FCS level — two at Bloomsburg (2018, 2021) and two at Albany. The native of Pennsylvania had 12.5 sacks for Albany in 2023 and was named to the All-CAA first team.

A cause of death was not released.

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

Albany coach Greg Gattuso posted on X, formerly Twitter, that he spent two “joyous” years getting to know Simon as a coach and friend.

“My prayers are dedicated to the Simon family,” Gattuso wrote. “I love you AJ and will always have a special place in my heart for #8.”

Simon had taken a pre-draft visit to the New England Patriots, NBC Sports reported.


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