Former Liberty football player Jessie Lemonier passes away at 25

Former Liberty football player and NFL edge rusher Jessie Lemonier died at the age of 25 on Jan. 26.

Lemonier, a Hialeah, Florida native, arrived in Lynchburg after transferring from Ventura College in 2018. 

He made an immediate impact during his first year on the Mountain, a season that saw him start all 12 games. He recorded 55 tackles and 10 sacks and was named to the VASID All-State Second Team. 

During his second year with the Flames, Lemonier recorded 80 total tackles and 10.5 sacks. He was named MVP of the 2019 Cure Bowl, where his two sacks and eight tackles helped Liberty win its first bowl game in school history. 

Liberty Football plays University of Massachusetts at Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium on November 2, 2019. (Photo by Andrew Snyder)

Lemonier would go on to the NFL in 2020, signing as a free agent with the Los Angeles Chargers. He appeared in six games during his time with the team and recorded two tackles. 

In 2021, Lemonier signed with the Detroit Lions. He appeared in eight games with two starts, recorded 17 total tackles and one-and-a-half sacks. He spent training camp with the Arizona Cardinals in 2022 but was released before the start of the regular season. 

Lemonier was drafted to the XFL’s Dallas Renegades in 2023, but he instead signed with the USFL’s Houston Gamblers. He was traded to the Birmingham Stallions weeks after signing.

Lemonier’s death comes just days before what would have been his 26th birthday on Jan. 31. 

Football vs. Hampton at Williams Stadium on September 21, 2019. (Photo by Andrew Snyder)

“The Liberty Athletics family is deeply saddened to learn about the passing of former Flames football great Jessie Lemonier,” the Flames said in a statement. “Jessie was loved by Flames Nation for being a fierce competitor on the gridiron and cherished by his coaches and teammates in the locker room. Liberty Athletics will continue to keep his family and friends in our prayers that God may bring peace and comfort to them during the difficult days ahead.”

A statement from the Detroit Lions said, “We are shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of former Detroit Lion Jessie Lemonier. 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.”

Wheeler is a sports reporter for the Liberty Champion. Follow him on Twitter

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