OT Donald Penn signs one-day contract to retire as with Raiders ‘it just felt right’

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Levi Damien
·3 min read
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It’s an interesting day for Donald Penn to send out a picture on instagram showing he is at the Raiders facility. While fans are looking for the Raiders to make some moves in free agency, including at offensive tackle, some were seriously wondering of the Raiders were bringing back the 37-year-old tackle.

That didn’t really make sense for them to add a 37-year-old career left tackle to play right tackle. After all, they tried moving him to right tackle in 2018 and it ended up getting him injured and ending his 5-year run with the team.

The only sense that could be made of it was he was there to sign a one-day contract to retire as a Raider. And that’s just what he did today.

Some may wonder why he didn’t do this with the Buccaneers. After all, that was his original NFL team and where he spent the bulk of his career. But the Raiders were where he always felt he was meant to be. That’s the team he grew up rooting for as an LA kid and then had the chance to suit up for them. So, for him, it was a no-brainer.

“I had a great run,” said Penn over video conference call Monday. “I love Tampa, those eight years were great, Tampa is always going to be in my heart, but I grew up a Raider fan and I was able to play for a team I grew up with and it was a dream come true and after talking with Mr Davis, he was saying [I should] retire a Raider. I appreciate them letting me do this and it just felt right — growing up a Raider fan, playing for the team I grew up with, just felt right to do it with the Raiders. And especially with Gruden being here, coaching me in Tampa and still being here, it just felt right.”

Gruden was Penn’s head coach to start his career in 2007, making eight years Gruden was his head coach between Tampa and and Oakland.

“It’s perfect to see Donald retire as a Raider,” said Gruden in a statement. “He brought a toughness and tenacity to the offensive line that enabled him to have success at one of the most difficult positions in the game. I share Donald’s love for football and his love for the Raiders, so I am thrilled to see him retire as a member of the Silver & Black. I want to congratulate Donald on his retirement and wish him and his family all the best.”

After being let go by the Raiders following the 2018 season, Penn signed on in Washington and stepped back into a starting left tackle job for the 2019 season. But they didn’t bring him back after that. Penn said he had interest around the league as a backup, but was looking for a starting job. When December rolled around and no starting job materialized, he called it a career.

Penn made three Pro Bowls in his career, two of which with the Raiders in 2016-17. The first season of which was the Raiders only playoff appearance in the past 18 years.

Congrats on your outstanding career, Donald, and on your retirement.