Newly signed offensive lineman Donald Penn was introduced to the media at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center and mentioned how happy he was to be playing left tackle again.
It’s no secret that the Redskins have a massive hole to fill at left tackle with the holdout of Pro Bowler, Trent Williams, now reaching critical mass.
Penn, 36, has played in the NFL for 14 seasons with all but two at the left tackle position.
Last year in Oakland, Penn struggled with a lisfranc injury to his foot and made no secret about his struggles playing right tackle.
“I’ve got a whole bunch in my tank,” Penn said. “The keyword is ‘left’ _ left tackle. You feel what I mean? I played right last year. I wasn’t at my best. I was coming off a Lisfranc right foot injury and they turned that into my power foot and I was out there struggling a little bit. I’m going, to be honest, I’m an honest person, but the time off really helped. My foot feels great. I have no pain in it anymore and I’m back at a comfortable position where I feel like I can strive and be great at and get back to my old self.”
Penn’s arrival could be a sign that Redskins are moving on from Williams. Ironically Penn said he spoke with Williams via phone about the move and said that he and Williams are close friends. The former Utah State product even went as far as to say that Williams and he had a good conversation about him coming to DC.
” … Trent’s one of my good friends,” Penn said. “I reached out to Trent before I signed and we had a good conversation. We talked, and we’re on the same page.”
When asked if he thought Williams would ultimately show up for training camp, Penn politely declined to answer.
“I’m not going to get into that too much,” he said. “It was a personal conversation between me and Trent, though. I’ll just leave it at that.”
Penn will have to get used to playing for a new team considering he thought he was going to retire an Oakland Raider. He was a fan favorite while with the Oakland and grew up a Raider fan.
The undrafted college free agent back in 2006 mentioned he was texted by Oakland coach Jon Gruden (brother of Redskins coach Jay Gruden) and the texted said he couldn’t escape the Gruden’s.
Penn may not be a fill-in but a long term answer at the position and feels good about where his body is and remembering the terminology from his days in Tampa with Gruden, Doug Williams, and Bruce Allen.
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“The main factor was playing left tackle again,” Penn said. “I kind of reluctantly played right tackle last year, being a team player, but I’m a left tackle at heart and I played left tackle my whole career and I wanted to go somewhere where I had a chance to start and play left tackle. I know Jay Gruden’s offense pretty well because I worked with his brother a lot and I worked with Jay my first two years in the league with Tampa, so I have a lot of familiar faces here: Bruce Allen, Doug Williams. They said they needed some help, and we worked everything out. I was willing to come in and help.”
Washington now has an adequate fill-in for Williams to man the left side as they work in two new quarterbacks in Case Keenum and rookie first-round draft pick, Dwayne Haskins.
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