A transcription of a conference call with tackle Donald Penn, who signed with the Raiders Wednesday:
Q: Was your release from Tampa Bay completely unexpected or did you see the writing on the wall?
Penn: “It was a little bit of both. Their communication really sucked. They really didn’t let me know anything. I talked to the Head Coach [Lovie Smith] when he got hired a couple of times. I talked to the O-line coach [George Warhop]. Everything sounded good, and then I just started seeing all these reports about [Anthony] Collins visiting. And the day of his signing, where he agreed to a deal, I saw those reports, still hadn’t heard anything from them. Then they call me about 10 or 15 minutes before the press conference to let me know that I was getting released.”
Q: With the way that went down, does that give you any extra motivation?
Penn: “I had a chip on my shoulder from when the season ended this past season, because I feel like I was coming off one of my worst seasons of my career. They just added more fuel to the fire, the Bucs releasing me. I do have a big chip on my shoulder, and I am ready to get back at it. I wish the season started in a month.”
Q: What was it that attracted you to the Raiders? Why did you ultimately sign with Oakland?
Penn: “I have to take my hat off to the Redskins. [I have] a lot of love and respect for a lot of guys there that coached me before in the past and have been a part of my career in the past. But, I wasn’t ready to play right tackle yet. I feel like I am a great left tackle. I had a great talk with the O-line coach in Oakland [Tony Sparano]. We had a great, great talk, and I love his scheme. They are doing great things in free agency right now. I loved talking to Coach [Dennis] Allen. His vision really sold me. And the way Greg Olson works as an offensive coordinator was big because I played with him for a couple years, and I had some of my best years as an NFL player under Greg Olson’s offense. So, I am looking to pick up from that. Being closer to home and playing for a team that I grew up watching … I used to up go to games and tailgate with my dad when I was younger. That was a big thing and trying to turn the Oakland Raiders back around to the team that I knew when I was growing up.”
Q: There has been talk about possibly Josh Freeman coming aboard. Do you think he is a guy who would fit in here?
Penn: “Yes, I do. I heard rumors about that too. I think he would fit in well. He had some of his best seasons too under Greg Olson and his offense. If Josh would come, I would love to block for him again, or whoever I have to block for. I would love to welcome Josh if it does happen.”
Q: Why do you think last year didn’t go as well for you as this past year? What was the difference you think?
Penn: “I really don’t make excuses – that’s not me. But, there was a lot of stuff that went on with the organization that I am not going to speak on. I had six different guards throughout the year playing next to me, two different quarterbacks and it’s just tough. Playing from behind a lot and stuff like that. A lot of stuff went into it, but that is the past. I am ready to move on, and I am looking forward to turning this thing around this season coming up.”