Restricted free agent, left tackle Donald Penn, has been the angst of Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik’s ire here of late. But after Dominik made disparaging remarks in what’s been described as an “off-the-record” setting, the two men squared off in a face to face meeting, at the teams annual Fan Fest Saturday night. Dominik apologized too Penn for allowing his feelings over the situation to boil over into a public forum, as the two men had a heart to heart.
While Dominik thinks the two of them are in good shape, relationship wise. Penn once again reiterated that he won’t be showing up at the teams’ mandatory mini-camp, which is scheduled to kickoff Monday.
“I’m not going to mini-camp,” Penn said. “Mark and [head coach] Raheem [Morris] know that, we already talked about that. I’m not going. I’m a good guy. I don’t talk bad about the organization and I’m never going to start. From weeks and during the season, I want to be a Buc for the rest of my life if I can. It’s not in my hands.
“You have to look at all these guys getting tendered. It’s their first year getting tendered. Only me and the guy from Houston got tendered two years in a row. I’m in a different boat than them. It happened to me twice in a row, so it’s kind of tough. I’m going to be patient, be calm and control what I can control. Everything that’s going on right now is out of my control. If we had a new [collective bargaining agreement] I would never have been in this position.”
It would appear the only way things are going to be resolved, is if Dominik and the Bucs show Penn the money he feels he deserves. But the posturing will continue and could drag into the season as Penn was non-committal about whether or not he would be attending training camp or not without a contract extension.
The fact that Penn feels slighted after being one of only two players in the NFL who has been tendered the past two years and is now being dragged through the mud by the same person responsible for finding him is sure to be a bitter pill to swallow and might cost the team a few extra million to rinse that bitter taste out of Penn’s mouth.
It’s clear what ever tactic Dominik was trying to use has only seemed to blow up in his face with the handling of the Penn situation and has only made things worse.
But let’s be candid here, it’s a two way street and Penn hasn’t exactly helped himself through the whole ordeal either. If he’d been able to maintain a decent weight and shown progress rather then regressing as a player he’d most likely already have the coveted contract extension he desires.