Wisconsin football's Jon Dietzen coming out of retirement, Reggie Pearson not medically cleared

Wisconsin is regaining offensive lineman Jon Dietzen for the 2020 season while losing safety Reggie Pearson, the team confirmed Wednesday as it begins preseason preparations.

Dietzen started 32 games for Wisconsin before retiring from football in February 2019 because of numerous injuries. Coach Paul Chryst said that Dietzen's health has since improved and that he decided to rejoin the team for a final season.

Pearson is not cleared medically to play and does not appear on Wisconsin's roster, although he remains enrolled in school. Chryst said a medical issue was discovered during the offseason. Pearson appeared in all 14 games for Wisconsin as a redshirt freshman in 2019, recording 60 tackles, including 3.5 for loss, and adding two forced fumbles and four passes defended.

Dietzen started 12 games at left tackle for Wisconsin in 2018, missing one contest because of injury. He battled ankle and hip injuries throughout the 2017 season and underwent surgery before the 2018 season to repair labrum tears in both hips.

"It was fun to see him truly as healthy as he's ever been, quite honestly," Chryst told reporters Wednesday. "Dietzen is a talented football player. The question will be ... how does he feel, not necessarily that first practice but the second one of a back-to-back, or maybe 2-3 weeks into it? He knows his body even better. The whole thing's been exciting for me. Football meant a ton to him; the team meant a lot to him. He made that decision [to retire] because it was just hard to do [physically]. To see him healthy, that's been really fun to see."

Wisconsin on Sept. 9 announced a two-week pause in activities for its football and men's hockey programs because of COVID-19 test results, but that hiatus ended Wednesday. The Badgers football team is set to open the 2020 season Sept. 24 at home against Illinois.