Donald Penn had a stressful few months. The veteran left tackle wanted to stay in Oakland despite an expiring contract, to remain on the team he grew up adoring and a short flight from his Inglewood home.
Despite his desire and the Raiders’ hope for a reunion, a prolonged stalemate had him thinking about other places. He was set to visit the New York Giants on Wednesday morning, but ended up agreeing to terms on a two-year, $14 million contract with the Raiders instead.
The pact brought great relief easily heard during Penn’s Thursday conference call with local press.
“We have things rolling right now,” Penn said. “We’re on the up-and-up, and I’m glad I’m able to be a part of it. Everything feels pretty good. I can’t wait to get back to work.”
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“…I’m blessed and happy that it’s all over, said and done. I’m ready to look forward and focus on getting wins.”
The Raiders offensive line has been universally praised since Penn’s return, the final piece to a unit upgraded by Kelechi Osemele’s acquisition last week.
Penn has heard the praise and is excited about the future. He doesn’t want to look good on paper.
“The sky’s the limit, but we can’t just talk about it,” Penn said. “We have to work and do it on the field. We have the guys to be the best offensive line in the league and to lead this team. We want to lead by example, and I’m confident the rest of the guys will follow.”
Most of this line returns from a year ago. Osemele is the major addition, an elite guard known as a road grader.
“It’ll help with the consistency in the run game, and it’ll help open things up and keep us from being so one-dimensional,” Penn said. “The run game was good last year, but we weren’t consistent. He’s a great run blocker, and he’s going to come in and bring something to the run game.
“There’s a lot of excitement in the air. We’re going to be a focal point on offense, and we’re going to be leaders of that unit and of the entire team.”