Wisconsin offensive lineman Jon Dietzen announced on Monday via Twitter that he will leave football due to “numerous injuries” sustained over the course of his career.
Dietzen started 32 games and played in 35 for the Badgers over the course of his career, but noted in his message that he “decided it is in my best interest to step away from football.”
Dietzen said that the decision to retire was not an easy one, and that he enjoyed every second of his football career. The 6’6, 336-pound lineman from Black Creek, Wis., dealt with injuries over the course of his career at Wisconsin. In November, Dietzen described to the Wisconsin State Journal’s Jason Galloway some of what he dealt with: “ankles, hips and other things.” He also noted “it’s kind of been a battle all year.”
Despite the clear pain, Dietzen battled through the injuries and was often praised for his toughness—including by offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph and right guard Beau Benzschawel in that Galloway article.
On Monday afternoon, former teammate and current NFL Draft prospect David Edwards showed immense respect for Dietzen.
The toughest dude I’ve ever played football with. Unbelievable guy and unbelievable player! Thank you, JD #67— David Edwards (@d_edwards79) February 11, 2019
In the post, Dietzen thanked the UW staff and said that he “will always cherish” his time at UW.
Dietzen began his college career in 2015 as an early enrolleee before redshirting for his first season at Wisconsin. He made his debut the following season against LSU at Lambeau Field during the Badgers’ upset win over LSU. His first career start was the following week against Akron, and he went on to start eight games that season at left guard.
In 2017, Dietzen made 12 starts at left guard as part of a unit that only allowed a Big Ten-best 1.5 sacks per game.
Last season, Dietzen returned to start 12 games but moved to left tackle as Michael Deiter returned to guard. Dietzen split time with then-redshirt sophomore Cole Van Lanen at that left tackle spot due to those nagging injuries. Despite the ailments, Dietzen became part of one of the best offensive lines in the country and helped pave the way for eventual Doak Walker Award winner Jonathan Taylor.