Penn State starting OL announces sudden retirement due to injury. What we know

Penn State offensive lineman Landon Tengwall, a redshirt sophomore and projected starter, announced his sudden retirement from football Wednesday night due to an unspecified injury.

Tengwall was a top-100 recruit who was widely expected to have a bright future. The 6-foot-6, 317-pound OL was projected to be the Nittany Lions’ starting left guard.

“It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing my retirement from football,” Tengwall wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Unfortunately, I have sustained an injury that will not allow me to safely continue to play the game I love and that has given me so much.”

Tengwall started five games at left guard last season before missing the rest of the year with an unspecified injury and undergoing surgery. However, he practiced as recently as earlier this month and was expected to start in the Nittany Lions’ season opener Saturday night against West Virginia. Redshirt junior JB Nelson is expected to step into the role in his stead.

Neither Tengwall nor head coach James Franklin immediately specified the nature of the career-ending injury.

Tengwall, a native of Maryland, played in eight career games for the Nittany Lions. He committed in March 2020 as the nation’s No. 84 overall prospect, per 247 Sports, and thanked the Penn State community Wednesday for its continued support.

“Penn State will always be my home,” he wrote. “I will always be a proud Penn State football player. Penn State has the greatest fans in the world and I want to thank all of you for supporting me during my time on the field and now in my next chapter.”

Franklin said he met with Tengwall and his dad earlier in the week.

“We just gotta be as supportive as we possibly can,” he said. “This is a hard thing, obviously. You can imagine, he’s been playing football his entire life. So I’d ask the Penn State community and I would ask the media to be as respectful of (Tengwall’s family’s) process as possible.”

While Tengwall will not be playing football for the NIttany Lions, he is expected to maintain a role within the sport and within the program. Franklin added that it’s not at the point in the process yet where he’s around the team in an off-field capacity, but he thinks that will come down the road.

“I’m confident that he will,” Franklin said. “As you can imagine this is a major life change. So take some time, then I think you’ll see him, whether it’s coaching or whether it’s recruiting or whether it’s strength and conditioning. At the end of the day he’s a part of our family. Always has been. Always will be. That will never change based on the circumstances.”

Penn State senior Keaton Ellis got to know Tengwall on a service trip to Guatemala where they distributed clothes and shoes. They built their relationship there and that showed the safety who Tengwall is.

“He’s a great guy,” Ellis said. “You don’t wish that kind of stuff on anybody. For a guy who loves the sport, it’s a hard decision to make. It really is. It’s really hard. I just want him to know that he has all of our support and love.”