NFL Draft Hopeful AJ Simon Is Dead At Age 25

Former University at Albany defensive lineman Amitral “AJ” Simon has died at age 25, the school announced Wednesday, just a week before the NFL draft in which he hoped to be chosen.

“AJ was a tremendous young man and even better teammate throughout his time at UAlbany,” the university wrote on its football program’s X account. “He was a role model both on and off the field, serving as a pillar to this program over the last two years.”

Simon recorded 55 tackles and was credited with 12.5 sacks in the 2023 season, earning all-Coastal Athletic Association first-team honors.

UAlbany's AJ Simon (96) pursues Baylor quarterback Blake Shapen in a 2022 game at Waco, Texas.

A cause of death was not given.

“I love you AJ and will always have a special place in my heart for #8,” UAlbany coach Greg Gattuso wrote on X.

Gattuso said previously that Simon had a chance to be picked in the late rounds of the NFL draft, the Albany Times-Union reported.

Simon, who was ranked No. 2 among CBS Sports’ list of small college draft prospects, echoed his coach’s hopes during UAlbany’s Pro Day for scouts last month.

“The scouts are saying some positive things,” Simon told the Times-Union. “You just never know. It’s time to play the waiting game. Just stay in shape. My chances [of being drafted], I feel like they’re pretty high.”

Simon, from Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania, is survived by his parents and two sisters, according to his team bio.