Utah’s John Penisini Retiring From NFL

Jun 11, 2022, 9:29 AM
(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)...
(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY- Former Utah defensive tackle John Penisini has decided to “hang them up” after two seasons in the NFL. Penisini was drafted in the sixth round of the 2020 Draft by the Detroit Lions, and quickly earned playing time in a rotational role. The announcement came early Saturday morning via Penisini’s Instagram account.


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A post shared by John Penisini (@wjxfamili801)

Penisini’s NFL Career

Although his time in the NFL was short, Penisini had some memorable moments with the Lions. In week 11 of the 2020 season against the Carolina Panthers, Penisini recorded his first sack on former XFL star quarterback, P.J. Walker. Later, in week 13 against the Chicago Bears, Penisini recovered a forced fumble  by teammate Romeo Okwara on quarterback Mitch Trubisky. The play would lead to the game winning touchdown for the Lions.

Penisini had offseason shoulder surgery to remove calcium deposits and was a little more quiet in the 2021 season only recording four tackles.

Penisini’s career ended with 49 total tackles, 23 solo tackles, one sack, one fumble recovery, and a pass defended in 32 games played.

With The Utes

Penisini was part of Utah’s stifling 2019 defense that helped get the Utes to their second straight Pac-12 Championship Game and was one of seven Utes taken in the 2020 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, Utah came up short that year in the Conference Championship Game, getting drubbed by Oregon 37-15.

In all, Penisini was a two-time second-team All-Pac-12 selection playing in 40 games for the Utes with 22 starts. During his senior year in 2019, Penisini was second on the defensive line with 38 tackles (seven tackles for loss and two sacks) while tying for first on the team in forced fumbles with two.



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