Here’s a transcript of today’s conference call with Donald Penn, who the team officially re-signed on Thursday to a two-year deal.
Q: What does it mean to be able to come back to the Raiders? You talked a lot about finishing what has been started here.
Penn: “It’s big. It’s big. We have things rolling right now and we’re on the up and up, and I’m glad I’m going to be able to be a part of it. We’re building something real nice right now. Everything is going the right way right now and it feels good. I can’t wait to get back to work, to be honest with you.”
Q: What do you think of the potential of the offensive line?
Penn: “I feel like the sky is the limit, but one thing we have to do, we can’t talk about it. We have to go out there and put in the work and do it and show the world how we’re really about it. I think we have the guys where we can be one of the best O-lines in the league and lead this team. One thing I know that we’re going to do, we’re going to lead by example and I know the rest of the guys on our team are going to follow. Look at these guys we’ve got up front, man, I mean, woo. I can’t wait to get started and work with these guys.”
Q: How close were you to taking the trip to meet with the New York Giants?
Penn: “I was very close. I was already packed up and everything. I was planning on going the next morning. I think my flight was leaving at like 7:30 the next morning, so I was on my way to go. I was packed and ready to go. It wasn’t ‘how close.’ I was going.”
Q: At that point did you think there was still a chance with the Raiders or had you given up on it?
Penn: “I thought there was still a chance, but at that point, I just felt like I wanted to see what New York had to offer and what they were going to talk about and see what their plan was. Luckily, the Raiders didn’t give me a chance to go see that.”
Q: What do you think Kelechi Osemele brings to this line?
Penn: “I think he fits right in. He fits right in. I think he fits the mold that [offensive line] coach [Mike] Tice teaches us. I think he brings the nastiness that we already bring as an offensive line. I think he is going to fit in very well. I don’t know where exactly he is going to play yet, but wherever he is, he is that impact player. He’s such a good player. He’s going to help no matter where he is and he’s going to help immediately and it’s going to be great.”
Q: Do you think bringing in Osemele and bringing everyone else back can help you build more on the running game?
Penn: “Yeah, I think it will help us with the consistency of our running game. It’ll open a lot of things up. We won’t have to be so one-dimensional on some things and it will open up a lot of things. The run game was good last year but the thing about it was we weren’t consistent. He’s a great run blocker. I think he is going to come and help bring some consistency to us and to the run game, and that’s what we need.”
Q: Do you think that the offensive line can be leaders of the offense and leaders of the team that everyone else counts on?
Penn: “That’s the plan. When we get back, I know, as a group, that’s what we’re going to want and that’s what we’re going to demand. We just want everybody to follow our lead and we’re going to try to lead by example and just get this thing going. There’s a lot of excitement in the air and we are going to want to be the focal point of the offense as leaders and the team as leaders.”
Q: How tough were the emotions of not knowing whether you were going to come back with the Raiders or not?
Penn: “It was very tough. It’s the part of business you hate. It’s the business side of it. It’s the part that a lot of players hate. A lot of coaches hate it too because they have to go through it too. I know all the coaches wanted me back. It was tough, but I am very blessed and I’m happy it’s all over, said and done. Now, I’m ready to look forward to winning.”