Lions defensive lineman John Penisini announces retirement

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Detroit Lions defensive lineman John Penisini announced his retirement via social media Saturday morning. 

"I have made the decision to retire from football," Penisini wrote on Instagram. "I’m definitely going to miss my teammates and the coaching staff but I’m glad I got to experience it. I’m happy and excited for whatever life has for me.

John Penisini (91)

"For my family, friends, teammates, coaches and all the people who supported my dream along the way I appreciate and love you guys."

A sixth-round draft pick out of Utah in 2020, Penisini went on to play 576 snaps as a rookie. The following offseason, he had surgery to remove large masses from each of his shoulders. 

"Penisini had what looked like softballs in his shoulder that he had repaired after the season, after the fact," Lions coach Dan Campbell explained. "It just looked like a bunch of calcium deposits that had been in there. You wonder why when you watch the film last year why he’s not using his arm. It’s because he had issues."

Penisini returned during training camp and appeared in 16 of 17 games last season, playing a reduced workload from the year before. 

This offseason, Penisini had once again been absent. Campbell noted earlier in the week the team was aware of why the player wasn't in attendance and shared plans to speak to him, but no additional details were provided. 

Penisini, just 25 years old, is the second Lions player to retire in the past few days, following rookie cornerback Jermaine Waller.  

"I want (players) to make sure ­that they really think about, ‘OK well what’s next and what are your next plans? Do you have a plan?’" Campbell said. "And then, ‘Man, I want you to just sit back and think about ­— you’re sitting here five years from now and you look back on this moment, and are you going to regret it?'

"So, you just try to get them to ponder it as much as possible and that’s really, ultimately, for me, what I want to know they’ve done," Campbell continued. "They’ve really thought it out and tried to at least look out and they’ve got a plan, they’re able to know they’re about to make a decision that they can walk away from and never look back on."