Bucs to focus on finding LT in anticipation of Penn holdout
The Bucs are planning to have an open competition for the left tackle spot in anticipation that starter Donald Penn will not report to training camp Friday.
Penn, 27, refused to sign his one-year, $3.168-million tender as a restricted free agent and the Bucs reduced the offer to 110 percent of his 2009 salary, a loss of about $100,000. He missed the voluntary off-season workouts and mandatory minicamp.
General manager Mark Dominik said he is unaware whether Penn intends to report to training camp on time. He said he hopes the contract impasse is resolved soon, but there have been no talks on an extension for Penn, who has started 44 straight games at left tackle.
Demar Dotson, a converted basketball player from Southern Miss, has taken most of the first-team reps at left tackle in Penn's absence. But Xavier Fulton and James Lee also will be given a chance to win the job.
"Dotson has worked very hard,'' Dominik said. "A lot of it comes down to how he performs with his opportunity and reps at left tackle. We're very anxious to see how he does.
"Penn still is considerd a teammate and a member of our football team and I hope there is a resolution sooner rather than later. But we're looking forward to seeing what Dotson, Xavier Fulton and James Lee can do. It's an open competition.''