Sep 15, 2018; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers offensive lineman Jon Dietzen (67) during the game against the BYU Cougars at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

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OL Dietzen returns to Wisconsin; S Pearson not on roster

Wisconsin offensive lineman Jon Dietzen is back with the Badgers, 19 months after announcing his retirement because of numerous injuries.

He has one year of eligibility remaining.

Dietzen’s name appeared on the roster released Wednesday. And while it was a surprise, Badgers coach Paul Chryst told reporters the return has been a long time coming. And Dietzen has been helped by having the extra time with the season delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“This has been kind of a year in the works,” Chryst said. “The more time we’ve had, Dietz is probably the one that’s probably benefited from it, it in many ways. He’s trained, but he hasn’t played for a while.”

Chryst divulged less about safety Reggie Pearson, whose name was not on the roster in another surprise. Chryst said the redshirt sophomore has not been given the OK from doctors to play but did not disclose more about his condition.

“In the offseason, found something that was a concern. For this year, he wasn’t cleared to play. That’s why he’s not on the roster right now, because he wouldn’t be cleared,” Chryst said.

Dietzen does have the go-ahead, though. After sitting out last season, his most recent appearance came in the Pinstripe Bowl, a 35-3 win over Miami on Dec. 27, 2018.

The aftermath of injuries to his hips and ankles sent Dietzen into retirement, but Chryst said the 6-foot-6, 319-pound lineman began feeling better last fall and has been training for a potential return over the past year.

“It’s been fun to see him, truly, healthy as he’s ever been, quite honestly. Dietz, he’s a talented football player. I think the question will be … the thing he hasn’t done is played football. So maybe not just that (first) day, what’s it feel like the day after that? Or when you start stacking two or three together?” Chryst said.

In three seasons with the Badgers, Dietzen played 35 games, starting 32 of them — 20 at left guard, 12 at left tackle. The Wisconsin offensive line was key to a rushing game that led the Big Ten and was No. 6 in the nation in 2018, averaging 273.4 yards per game.

Pearson, a redshirt sophomore, started 12 games last season for the Badgers and made 60 tackles. He remains enrolled at Wisconsin.

His father, also named Reggie Pearson, issued a cryptic tweet on Wednesday, writing, “Things will be addressed soon. #OnWisconsin.”

Two weeks ago, he wrote directly to his son on Twitter.

“No matter what son @reggiepearson21 I got your back. We’ll be fine.”

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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