Raider Nation rejoiced when versatile offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele signed a massive five-year contract with the Silver and Black.
One big Raiders fan didn’t share in the celebration.
Donald Penn didn’t like it at first. The veteran left tackle thought Osemele was his replacement, a sure sign he wouldn’t return to Oakland after two solid seasons protecting the blind side.
“To tell you the truth, I was pissed,” Penn told SiriusXM NFL radio on Wednesday morning. “I called (Raiders head coach) Jack Del Rio as soon as I found out. I called him on his cell phone and we had a long talk. He reassured me (Osemele) was going to play guard. I thought he was coming in to play tackle, and that’s one of the times I thought I wasn’t going to come back to the Raiders.”
Penn’s worries weren’t founded. The Raiders wanted Osemele to play on the inside, and they wanted Penn back at left tackle. That wish became reality on Wednesday morning, when Penn agreed on terms for a two-year contract worth $14 million with $7 million in guarantees.
Penn hoped to retire a Raider, and believes his new deal will allow him to do just that. Getting there was a stressful prospect. Penn was disappointed in communication with the team early this offseason, and wasn’t thrilled with an original offer that had him considering other options and ready to visit the New York Giants on Wednesday. Penn thought he was going somewhere else.
“There was a time where I thought that, for a while actually,” Penn said. “I talked to (general manager Reggie McKenzie) a couple days ago and he reassured me that we were going to do something to try and get it done. I had some doubts in me because it was taking so long. I was thinking about going elsewhere, and even though Reggie reassured me, I had other options. I was set to fly to New York this morning, but the Raiders came in and put a stop to that last night.”
McKenzie upped his offer some and reached a pact with Penn.
Retaining Penn was a priority for the Raiders, who have made bold moves in free agency. The Raiders kept Penn and receiver Andre Holmes, while adding Osemele, cornerback Sean Smith, edge rusher Bruce Irvin and special teams standout Daren Bates.
Penn is excited about playing with Osemele, and believes he'll be a solid addition to an excellent offensive line.
Pundits consider the Raiders a team on the rise, and Penn is thrilled to be part of it. He originally signed with the Raiders in 2014, and wanted to bring the team he grew up loving back to prominence.
“I feel like there’s some unfinished business, and I’m glad I have two years to get things going,” Penn said. “The moves they made and the picks they’ve made show they’ve made moves in the right direction. That’s why I wanted to be a part of this so bad. I knew I could help out. I want Derek Carr back there comfortable. When he’s comfortable, he’s one of the best in the league.”
Penn, nearly 33 years old, says he only has a few years left. He doesn’t want to play for a different team.
“My goal is to play two more years,” Penn said. “I’m going to give it my all and finish strong. It’s like a dream come true. I grew up a Raiders fan, and I’m going to retire a Raider.”