Former Utah DL John Penisini Unretires, Returns To NFL With Panthers

Apr 9, 2023, 1:27 PM

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SALT LAKE CITY – After taking a year off, former Utah Utes standout John Penisini plans to return to the NFL as a member of the Carolina Panthers.

Penisini’s agent shared the news on Saturday, April 8.

“Very excited for our @gsefootball client @Dub_jayy_boy who will be signing with the @Panthers this week!” David Canter tweeted.

A short time later, Penisini, 25, confirmed the news.

“Run it back,” the former Ute shared on Twitter.

In June 2022, Penisini announced that he was retiring from the NFL.

“Verified I have made the decision To retire from football. I’m definitely going to miss my teammates and the coaching staff but I’m glad I got to experience it,” Penisini posted on Instagram. “I’m happy and excited for whatever life has for me. For my family, friends, teammates, coaches and all the people who supported my dream along the way I appreciate and love you guys. Go Lions.”


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A post shared by John Penisini (@wjxfamili801)

Less than a year later, the West Jordan High School product is returning to the league.

Penisini is joining a Panthers team that had a 7-10 record in 2022 and missed the playoffs.

About John Penisini

Before his time in the NFL, the California native was a standout player at West Jordan. Following his time in high school, Penisini attended Snow College in 2015. He transferred to the University of Utah ahead of the 2016 season and played three seasons in Salt Lake City.

As a member of the Utes, Penisini recorded 80 total tackles, 29 solo tackles, 15 tackles for loss, five sacks, two pass breakups, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery in 40 games played.

After his college career, Penisini was selected by the Detroit Lions with the No. 197 overall pick during the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

In two seasons with the Lions, the lineman had 49 total tackles, 23 solo tackles, four tackles for loss, 1.0 sacks, one pass breakup, and one fumble recovery in 32 games played, including 12 starts.

Kyle Ireland is a Locals in the NFL Insider for KSLSports.com and co-host of the Yards After College Podcast. Follow him on Twitter (@kyleireland) and Instagram (@kyleirelandksl).

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Former Utah DL John Penisini Unretires, Returns To NFL With Panthers