Former Detroit Lions linebacker Jessie Lemonier has died at the age of 25, the team confirmed on Thursday. The cause of death has not been released. Lemonier had recently signed with the USFL’s Houston Gamblers for the upcoming season before being traded to the Birmingham Stallions. He played in seven games with the Lions during the 2021 season, accumulating 15 total tackles and 1.5 sacks. He had also signed with the Arizona Cardinals last summer, registering a sack in a preseason game before being released during training camp.
“We are shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of former Detroit Lion Jessie Lemonier,” the Lions said in a statement. “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.”
His agent, Drew Smith of DEC Management, also shared that Lemonier and his girlfriend were expecting a child.
Lemonier was a native of Hialeah, Florida and originally signed with the Los Angeles Chargers as an undrafted free agent out of Liberty in 2020. He played in six games with the chargers, making two tackles.
Lane Johnson, the right tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles, hasn’t given up a sack since November 22, 2020, against the Cleveland Browns, according to Pro Football Focus. This is an impressive streak that spans 29 games, 794 days, and more than 1,800 snaps. The Eagles lineman Andre Dillard explains just how difficult it is to achieve this, “That is basically, you go out there and win 100% of the reps against a better athlete when you’re going backward and they’re coming forward. That’s how hard that is.”
Lane Johnson, right tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles, will face a major test in the upcoming NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers, specifically when he goes up against Nick Bosa, the regular-season sack leader. Johnson will be playing with a torn adductor, a groin injury he suffered on Christmas Eve against the Dallas Cowboys, which kept him out of the rest of the regular season. Despite this, Johnson returned in the divisional round against the New York Giants and did not give up a single sack in a 38-7 Eagles win. Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts describes Johnson as “a true warrior.”
The fact that Johnson has been able to maintain such a high level of performance for such a long period of time becomes even more remarkable when considering the personal struggles he has faced during this time. Johnson has had anxiety issues since 2008, but things became particularly difficult for him early in the 2021 season. He was dealing with frustration due to an ankle injury that was affecting his play with the Eagles, and was also experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms after attempting to stop taking Paxil, an antidepressant medication. He was experiencing vomiting, tremors in his hands, difficulty eating, and difficulty sleeping.
Johnson’s struggles with mental health were not publicly known until he failed to show up to the stadium prior to the Eagles’ Week 4 game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Johnson had decided that he didn’t want to play football anymore. He was experiencing depression and anxiety, had lost touch with his sense of self, and was vomiting daily and throwing up blood. After a conversation with his psychiatrist, Dr. Lonny Rosen, Johnson decided to return to Philadelphia to meet with the Eagles, which led to his return to the team after a three-game absence. He also began speaking openly about his mental health struggles, which had a profound effect on his teammates. Many of them viewed him as a “focal point” for mental health in the locker room and appreciated his willingness to talk openly and honestly about his personal struggles, which helped to “open up a pathway” for others to do the same.