Donald Penn's situation with Bucs can't get messier

We hate to say the situation with Donald Penn can’t get much worse for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because you just never know. But this situation is mighty rocky right now – at best – which makes it rather interesting that the veteran left tackle is reportedly going to attend the team’s FanFest Saturday after flying in from Los Angeles.

But don’t expect Penn at the mandatory veteran minicamp next week as he has yet to sign his tender as a restricted free agent, the one that would pay him $3.168 million this season. General manager Mark Domink previously said the team would fine Penn for not attending, but the Bucs can’t fine a player who is not under contract.

It’s what Dominik said during a Q&A session with fans at the team’s headquarters that is even more interesting. According to the St. Petersburg Times, a blogger recorded Dominik discussing Penn at the event. The team has since declared that Domink’s comments were off the record, amusing because it’s preposterous to suggest that remarks Dominink was making at a forum for fans was “off the record.” Notice, the Bucs didn’t deny Dominik said this, but they said the remarks were not for public consumption. If so, then don’t share the remarks with the public.

Basically, Dominik labeled Penn a slob and suggested that was the reason the player is not receiving the kind of longterm commitment he would like from the team.

"When you think about a left tackle and how important that position is, especially to a young franchise quarterback, and that guy during the season gains 40 pounds and basically turns his back to … keeping himself in shape, that's disappointing to me," Dominik said. “I'm just being blatantly honest with you.
"I expected better from him. … When you look at the film, he continued to digress (during the season). This has nothing to do with money from the organization. This has nothing to do with the Glazers and their financial situation. This is strictly for him to show what he is as a football player.”

Wow. Good luck sitting down across the table and explaining this one to Penn. If Penn did indeed pack on that kind of poundage during the season, well then the team needed to do a better job of staying on top of him. Those fines for being overweight at weekly weigh-ins can add up in a hurry. We’re somewhat surprised Penn is making the effort to attend the fan convention, but it could be viewed as an effort to rally public support for him. Maybe this situation can be resolved. Certainly, Penn won’t have any hurt feelings if the Bucs pay him what he’s seeking. But are the Bucs in the business of paying anyone these days?

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