Former Chargers, Lions linebacker Jessie Lemonier dies at 25

Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Jessie Lemonier  (90) during an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints
Jessie Lemonier, who played six games for the Chargers in 2020, has died at age 25. No cause of death has been given.
(Tyler Kaufman / Associated Press)

Outside linebacker Jessie Lemonier, who appeared in 13 games for the Chargers and Detroit Lions in a brief NFL career highlighted by a sack of Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers, has died. He was 25.

The Lions disclosed his death in a statement, adding they confirmed it with his family. They did not provide any details.

“Jessie was a model teammate and a wonderful young man who is gone far too soon,” the Lions said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”


Lemonier was signed by the Chargers in 2020 after going undrafted out of Liberty. He played in six games that season and had two tackles and three quarterback pressures. He was cut the following summer and signed with the Lions.

That season, he had 17 tackles and 1½ sacks, with the other half coming against Arizona on Dec. 19, 2021.

“The Liberty Athletics family is deeply saddened to learn about the passing of former Flames football great Jessie Lemonier,” the Lynchburg, Va., school 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.”

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Lemonier was waived by the Lions in May and claimed by Arizona. He spent the offseason with the Cardinals and part of training camp before being cut this past summer. He signed with the Houston Gamblers of the USFL in December and was traded to the Birmingham Stallions.

Lemonier was selected by the Arlington Renegades in the 2023 XFL draft but opted to stay with the USFL.

After playing at Hialeah High School in Florida, Lemonier spent a season at Ventura College in California before transferring to Liberty, where he helped the school make the transition from the FCS to the FBS level during his two seasons (2018-19).


Lemonier capped his career at Liberty by earning MVP honors in the 2019 Cure Bowl, helping the Flames secure their first-ever bowl game victory. With the win over Georgia Southern, Liberty became the third FBS team to win a bowl game during its first full season.

Lemonier ended his career for the Flames with 20½ sacks, which ranked third at the time in program history.