Bucs tackle Penn proud to make 100th consecutive start
TAMPA -- It's a milestone more than six seasons in the making, but Bucs left tackle Donald Penn will start his 100th consecutive game Sunday at Seattle, which he says is a testament to resilience, steady play and good luck.
"I'm blessed," Penn said Wednesday as the Bucs returned to practice. "I'm happy I was able to do that, especially coming in as a free agent, starting from the bottom and working my way up. It's a great accomplishment."
Penn's streak is the fifth-longest ever by a Bucs, and second-longest among Tampa Bay offensive linemen, topped only by center Tony Mayberry's run of 144 games from 1991-2000. He's not even halfway to the team record -- defensive back Ronde Barber went 215 games, surpassing linebacker Derrick Brooks' streak of 208 last season.
Penn said he points to two great mentors in his development as a starting tackle -- current Bucs guard Davin Joseph, as well as Brooks, who was a Bucs teammate of his from 2006-08.
"(Brooks), I guess he saw something when I first got here, because he used to always talk to me all the time, tell me the potential I had, the opportunity I had ahead of me even when I didn't even know it," Penn said. "And I've followed Davin Joseph's lead since I've been here. ... I try to lift as much as he lifts. If he does extra, I do extra. I've been doing that since I've been here. I'm a little bit of a follower, but I've been following that guy's lead."
While left tackle has been a spot of consistency for the Bucs, left guard has been the opposite, with Jamon Meredith in position to be the fifth different starter in eight games this season, joining Gabe Carimi, Carl Nicks, Ted Larsen and Jeremy Zuttah.