The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have parted ways with two of their longest tenured players this offseason, releasing guard Davin Joseph and tackle Donald Penn while bringing in replacements from elsewhere. And if you were to ask at least one of those former linemen for his thoughts on how his release was handled, you’d get a less than positive response.
Donald Penn appeared on Sirius XM Radio with Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt, and had some fairly strong comments about his final days as a Buccaneer.
— Alex Marvez (@alexmarvez) March 20, 2014
Here’s just some of what Penn had to say:
- “I’m a grown man, they could have treated me like a grown man. It’s a part of the business, but it’s a way to do business, and I ain’t like the way the did it. I do have a big chip on my shoulder, and I’m coming back this year with a vengeance… I talked to Lovie twice since he had the head coaching job, and this was all a month before free agency started, talked to the O-line coach about two weeks before free agency started. Everything was great, they told me they were looking forward to working with me, and then all of a sudden I start seeing all of these reports about them bringing in Collins for a visit.”
The former Bucs’ left tackle would go on to say that he got a call 10-15 minutes before the press conference to introduce Collins and was told he had been released. Penn believed that to not be the “grown man” way to approach the situation, but concluded that must be “how the new regime is going to do things.”
Penn feels he should have been kept in the loop about his status with the team, but unless he was promised anything (like his spot on the team next year), he should know that nothing in the NFL is guaranteed. His play declined last season, and a new coach and GM have no reason to be loyal to a player they didn’t sign and don’t have to pay if they don’t want to.
And what good would it have done to tell Penn that they were searching for his replacement? It would have only served to come back and bite them if he got upset and took that information to the public, as it would have killed any trade value he had.
It’s understandable that Penn is upset about leaving the team that gave him his first chance and his first big contract. But I think he’s taking things a bit too personally, as the Buccaneers got a younger, cheaper tackle, so Penn, like many of his teammates before him, was let go and allowed to find a new job.
So again, unless Penn was promised a role on the 2014 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he had to know that the team was considering replacing him, and shouldn’t be too surprised at how they handled the situation. Jason Licht and Lovie Smith have no connection to Penn, and therefore any sort of emotional, formal goodbye would have been awkward at best.
Penn was given his shot in the open market, and he landed a good deal with the Raiders, who are much closer to his childhood home in California. So he can use this bulletin board material to have a better year in 2014 than he did in the previous season, and forget about the frustration of being cut for the first time in eight years.