Albany Football Star AJ Simon Passes Away at Age 25, Just A Week Before NFL Draft

Photo: Instagram/AJ Simon

Albany is mourning the loss of former University of Albany defensive lineman Amitral “AJ” Simon, who passed away at the age of 25. This sad news comes just a week before the 2024 NFL Draft, which Simon had hoped to join after announcing his entry last December.

The University of Albany football team shared the heartbreaking news on their official social media account on Wednesday, April 17. They remembered Simon as a fantastic young man and an outstanding teammate during his time at the university.

"He was a role model both on and off the field and served as a pillar to this program over the last two years," the team said in their statement. "He will be profoundly missed."

Photo: Instagram/AJ Simon

Head football coach Greg Gattuso also paid tribute to Simon, sharing his memories of the two "joyous years coaching and becoming friends" with him. "My prayers are dedicated to the Simon family. I love you AJ and will always have a special place in my heart for #8," Gattuso's statement continued.

Taylor O'Connor, the team's director of digital content and communications, fondly remembered Simon's enthusiasm for the NFL Draft preparations. "He would text me for cool edits after the season ended, and he started prepping for the NFL Draft. 

He was always so kind & 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!' " O'Connor recalled.

Simon began his collegiate football journey at Bloomsburg University before transferring to the University of Albany. During his time at Albany, he earned several accolades, including being named a 2023 All-CAA first-team defensive selection, Phil Steele All-CAA first-team selection, and FCS Football Central First Team All-American honoree. 

Off the field, Simon was also recognized for his academic achievements, making it to the 2023 Fall CAA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll with a GPA between 3.0 and 3.7.

The passing of AJ Simon has left a void in the hearts of many, especially those who knew him closely. Albany and the football community mourn the loss of a promising talent and an exceptional individual.


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