The Detroit Lions don’t typically see preseason retirements, but the team has two young players who have opted to leave the game within a week.
First, the team lost cornerback Jermaine Waller to retirement. The undrafted free agent decided to leave the game before going through the offseason program with the team. Days later, the team lost defender John Penisini to a resignation.
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Penisini announced the news of his resignation on Saturday June 11th. He posted a note on his Twitter and Instagram accounts that not only revealed the election, but explained it.
“I made the decision to retire from football. I will definitely miss my teammates and the coaching staff, but I’m glad I got to experience it. I am happy and excited for whatever life has in store for me. To my family, friends, teammates, coaches and all the people who have supported my dream along the way, I appreciate and love you. Go Lions,” Penisini wrote.
Penisini was experienced with the team and had played two seasons in Detroit. It is worth noting that his first season with the team was under Matt Patricia’s staff, who draft-picked him. Detroit’s new defense has added a lot to the mix in recent years, so Penisini could get a little lost in the mess ahead of the 2022 season and may have seen the writing on the wall. Maybe that’s the reason for the move.
If he retires, Penisnini could go on top before the game takes too much toll on his body and before he’s traded or sacked. He can always say he played for a team for two seasons in the league and was never fired. The lions will surely wish him well.
Before joining the Lions, Penisini played for Utah, where he was best known as a clogger for the Utes. During his collegiate career, he had 80 total tackles, 5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss. He was a better run stuffer and offers little pass rush, but he’ll be a player to rely on as he stuffs up middle for the Lions and adds depth at tackle position. When he got into the league, he did just that. As a rookie, Penisini put on 35 tackles, 1 sack and started 12 games. That number dropped significantly under the team’s new regime, with Penisini amassing just 14 tackles in 2021. Here’s a look at some of his college work:
Penisini brought some of that courage to the pros, but he chose to walk away very early in his fledgling career.
This retirement news is a definite blow to the Lions. Penisini had at least two years of NFL experience, and while he may not have been on track to become a roster shoo-in this season, there’s no question he could have offered some depth to the team. In Alim McNeill and Levi Onwuzurike, the team has two sophomores who will make a huge impact. Aidan Hutchinson and Josh Paschal are the top picks for 2022. Veterans like Charles Harris, Michael Brockers, John Cominsky and Bruce Hector also have something to offer Detroit. It’s also wise not to forget the resurgent Jason Cornell up front.
The bottom line? Detroit will be covered without Penisini and it’s more than possible he saw the writing on the wall. Still, fans will wish him well in his next chapter.
CONTINUE READING: Projection of the early Lions 53-man roster