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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Freeman, Bucs players happy to see LT Donald Penn return



Count quarterback Josh Freeman among the most relieved players to see left tackle Donald Penn join practice Saturday morning.

"I think I'll sleep a lot better,'' Freeman said after Penn signed a 6-year, $48-million contract that included nearly $20-million guaranteed.

"Oh yeah, he showed up about midway through practice. I got to talk to him a little bit. It's great to see Donald back. It's an awesome deal. It works out great. We're going to have him for all of camp and I'm really excited to get more work with Donald.''

Center Jeff Faine, who had warned an extended holdout by Penn might create a distraction, said Saturday the Bucs will now have more continuity on the offensive line.

Penn has started 44 games at left tackle. His backups -- Demar Dotson, James Lee and Xavier Fulton -- have never started an NFL game. 

"It's a little bit of a solid feel,'' center Jeff Faine said. "Barring anything crazy, we know what we've got for a set at least out there at left tackle.''

The Bucs also signed first-round pick Gerald McCoy to a 5-year deal. McCoy will join the Bucs in the afternoon practice.

"I think it's the same scenario every year,'' cornerback Ronde Barber said. "I think the day before camp, everybody decides they actually kind of like football and they want to play. There's a lot of posturing before that, but I know Gerald was here in the off-season, we knew he was going to be here during camp, it was a matter of getting his name on a dotted line. Same with Penn. He got what he wanted. It's a good contract for him, it's a good contract for us and I'm excited he's here.''


[Last modified: Saturday, July 31, 2010 2:38pm]


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