Amitral "AJ" Simon via Instagram

It’s with heavy hearts that we share the passing of former University of Albany defensive lineman, Amitral “AJ” Simon, at the young age of 25.

News of AJ’s untimely death arrives just a week before the highly anticipated 2024 NFL Draft, a moment he eagerly awaited since announcing his entry into the draft back in December 2023.

The University’s football team took to their official platform to express their sorrow. 

“The UAlbany football program was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former student-athlete Amitral ‘AJ’ Simon this morning. He was a tremendous young man and even better teammate throughout his time at UAlbany,” the statement conveyed.

Remembered as both a role model on and off the field, AJ Simon was hailed as a pillar of strength within the program over the past two years. 

His absence will be keenly felt by all who knew him.

Head football coach Greg Gattuso shared his heartfelt sentiments, reminiscing about the “joyous two years coaching and becoming friends” with Simon. 

“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 expressed.

Taylor O’Connor, the team’s director of digital content and communications, fondly recalled Simon’s kindness and appreciation for her work, even during the intensity of NFL Draft preparations. 

“He would always text me for cool edits after the season ended… I joked with him ‘Don’t forget about me when you make it to the NFL!’ He laughed and said ‘Never!’ ” O’Connor shared.

AJ Simon’s legacy extends beyond the gridiron. 

A standout academically, he earned recognition as part of the 2023 Fall CAA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll, showcasing his dedication both on and off the field.

From his stellar performance as a defensive standout to his academic achievements, AJ Simon leaves behind a legacy that will be remembered and cherished by the University of Albany community and beyond.

My sincerest condolences to AJ’s family, friends, and all who loved and cherished him.

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