College Football Star, 25, Dies Suddenly a Week Ahead of NFL Draft

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College Football Star, 25, Dies Suddenly a Week Ahead of NFL Draft

A former Albany college football star who had just a week before he entered the NFL draft has died unexpectedly at 25.

The alma mater of Amitral “AJ” Simon said in a statement that its football program “was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former student-athlete Amitral “AJ” Simon this morning.”

The statement reads – via TMZ:

“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 head coach Greg Gattuso also expressed sadness over the death.

“My prayers are dedicated to the Simon family.”

“I love you AJ and will always have a special place in my heart for #8.”

Jared Ambrose, associate head coach for the Huskies, added:

“Words can’t express who he was, what he meant to so many and how big his smile was.”

“He brought light to everyone who came across him. Gone too soon but he’s part of us forever.”

Taylor O’Connor, shared a story about Simon on social media:

“AJ would text me for cool edits after the season ended and he started prepping for the NFL Draft,” O’Connor wrote.

“(He) was always so kind and appreciative of everything I sent him. I joked with him ‘Don’t forget about me when you make it to the NFL!’ He laughed and said ‘Never!’ Rest easy, 8.”

“It has been an incredible journey here at UAlbany, and I am immensely grateful for the support, guidance and mentorship provided by the UA staff,” he wrote in a statement.

“My time at UAlbany has not only honed my athletic skills but has also shaped me into a better individual both on and off the field. Their guidance has been pivotal in shaping my path toward this momentous decision to enter the NFL draft.”

He continued:

“Thank you once again for everything. I am truly honored to have been a part of the Purple Fam and look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead.”

“I am thrilled to represent the University at Albany as I take this next step in my football career. Sad that it’s over but grateful that it happened.”

Simon, who was oriignally from Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania, transferred to Albany after starting his collegiate playing career at Bloomsburg University. There, he played two seasons with the Huskies and recorded 20 tackles and 3.5 sacks as a freshman

Simon was also ranked the 36th best edge rusher by The Athletic’s draft experts, while also being floated as potential pick during the April 25th to 27th NFL draft.

Simon also leaves behind his parents, Amitral Simon and Felma Simon, and sisters Dominque and Doranella.

READ: Former NFL Cornerback Vontae Davis, 35, Dies Suddenly

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