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Panthers add defensive lineman John Penisini

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CHARLOTTE — The Panthers added some more size up front on defense, signing defensive lineman John Penisini Monday.

The 25-year-old Penisini was originally a sixth-round pick of the Lions and started 12 games as a rookie. He had a sack against PJ Walker here against the Panthers in 2020.

He played 16 games in 2021 but retired last summer after dealing with some shoulder issues.

The 6-foot-2, 335-pounder gives them another massive presence up front as they transition to a 3-4 defense under new coordinator Ejiro Evero.

They signed linemen Shy Tuttle and DeShawn Williams early in free agency, giving them the big bodies they needed to line up in a 3-4. They also added veteran defensive end Henry Anderson, who is reliable in run defense.

But Penisini gives them the girth they're looking for in a proper nose tackle as they adjust the defensive scheme, and another depth option as they continue to build.

The Panthers were back in the building Monday for the start of the voluntary offseason program.

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