Johnny Petrishen hasn’t given up on his dream of playing professional football over the last two years, and it’s finally paying off.
Petrishen — a former WPIAL standout who starred on Pitt’s ACC championship-winning squad — is finally a professional football player. He announced on Twitter Friday that he’s signed with the BC Lions of the CFL.
“Wanted y’all to hear it from me before Adam Schefter announced it… I just signed with the BC Lions of the CFL, excited to help them throughout the playoff stretch,” Petrishen wrote on Twitter. “I told you guys I have A LOT of ball left to be played and this is just the beginning.”
Wanted y’all to hear it from me before @AdamSchefter announced it.. I just signed with the @BCLions of the @CFL, excited to help them throughout the playoff stretch! I told you guys I have A LOT of ball left to be played and this is just the beginning!! THE ERA CONTINUES! 📈💪🏻 pic.twitter.com/CiDNy83Sfr
— Johnny JP Petrishen (@jP5_ERA) September 22, 2023
It’s been a long road for Petrishen. The Lower Burrell native originally committed to Penn State out of Central Catholic. It was a turbulent time, to say the least, with a season-ending injury in 2016 and a lot of special teams work during his time in State College.
Petrishen decided to come back to Pittsburgh in 2019, enrolling at Pitt and spending his first two seasons as a reserve linebacker and special teamer — having made the transition from safety to linebacker. He broke out in 2021 as a Star linebacker with 74 tackles (29 solo), 8.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, three interceptions (including one returned for a touchdown against Georgia Tech) and a pass breakup.
He went undrafted in the 2022 NFL Draft, spending some time with the Buffalo Bills in the preseason, but he didn’t latch on in the NFL initially. He’s competed at the Pitt Pro Day in each of the last two years, impressing in both instances, and he’s worked in broadcast as he’s continued to train for a professional opportunity.
At 6-foot-1, 230 pounds, Petrishen is an excellent athlete — boasting a 4.5 40-yard dash and nearly 40-inch vertical. And with his background as a safety and a linebacker, he should be a welcomed addition to the Lions’ depth.
As a member of the Lions’ practice roster, Petrishen will look to work his way onto the active roster and compete as the Lions look to lock down a spot in the playoffs.