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Football Star AJ Simon Passes Away

By Christian Hince | April 17, 2024

UAlbany defensive end AJ Simon passed away this morning at the age 25, with no cause of death released at this time. UAlbany Athletics confirmed the news, and the football program’s Instagram page posted Wednesday -- calling him a “tremendous young man and better teammate throughout his time at UAlbany.” 

Simon during a September 2023 game against Villanova.

Photo Credit: Brent Warzocha / UAlbany Athletics

The edge rusher, who just finished his final year of eligibility and second year at the school, was preparing for the NFL draft later this month, appearing at UAlbany’s pro day in late March with hopes of becoming the first Great Dane drafted in program history.

Simon was a pivotal member of a 2023 Great Danes team that appeared in the Football Championship Subdivision semifinal and went 11-4, the best finish in school history. His 12.5 sacks tied for third-best in the FCS, and with fellow UAlbany edge Anton Juncaj leading the FCS in sacks with 15, the two players propelled the Great Danes to a subdivision-leading team sack mark of 50. 

He previously played for Division II Bloomsburg University, recording 3.5 sacks in 2018 and eight in 2021. Teammates shared condolences on Instagram stories, with Juncaj saying “until we meet again” and 2023 star UAlbany quarterback and current Miami player Reese Poffenbarger saying “some things just won’t ever make sense man. In my heart always AJ. Going to miss the hell out of you.” 

Head coach Greg Gattuso posted a statement to X, saying “Two joyous year[s] coaching and becoming friends with AJ Simon. My prayers are dedicated to the Simon family. I love you AJ and [I] will always have a special place in my heart for # 8.”


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