TAMPA, Fla. – Donald Penn wanted to retire as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. That didn’t happen. The Bucs cut their longtime left tackle for an upgrade that was anything but.
That sent Penn on a different course, one that landed him in Oakland as a Raider, joining a team he grew up cheering for as a Los Angeles kid.
His return home, however, really meant something.
“I definitely had a little chip on my shoulder,” Penn said. “I didn’t want to get released when I did get released, but everything happens for a reason.”
Penn ended up in a better spot, with a Raiders team that stands tall after a 30-24 overtime victory over Tampa Bay. And, to top it all off, Penn scored a touchdown.
Penn declared himself an eligible receiver on the second half’s opening drive, found himself free in the pattern and Derek Carr hit him for a 1-yard touchdown.
Penn has done that before. He caught a touchdown pass in 2014 against the 49ers, but this one was special.
He celebrated the event with class, though he wanted to give Tampa Bay the middle-finger salute. Penn still has love for the organization, but he admitted this victory was especially sweet.
“It feels good,” Penn said. “I’m not going to lie to you. It feels really good.”
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave installed the Carr-to-Penn play this week, though the play didn’t run as planned. Carr audibled in practice, and chose to run the ball in instead. Penn certainly didn’t want that.
“I told Derek that, if I’m open, he’d better give me the ball,” Penn said. “But if he would’ve ran it I wouldn’t care because I have him on both of my fantasy teams. I get points either way.”
Penn had another solid day at the office, continuing a season to remember as a run blocker, a pass protector and a receiver, apparently.
“He has been bugging us about it since we got here,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “He was telling me what an athlete he was, what great hands he has and that he played basketball growing up. The play didn’t look great in practice all week, but we kept it up and executed it a lot better against them than we did to our scout team.”