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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

GM Dominik apologizes to LT Penn for 'insensitive' overweight comment

19

June

Bucs general manager Mark Dominik said he apologized to holdout left tackle Donald Penn prior to Saturday night's Fanfest at Raymond James Stadium for his 'insensitive' comment about his weight.  .

Dominik said he made a mistake commenting during a fan Q&A session at One Bucs Place by saying he was disappointed Penn gained 40 pounds the second half of the 2009 season.

"I was looking forward to tonight. I had an opportunity to sit down with Donald Penn...and I apologized to him,'' Dominik said.

"Donald is an important member of this team and a guy I'm extremely fond of. We had a good heart-to-heart conversation and I was glad he came down for the fans tonight...we're all on the same page and it is what it is.''

Apparently, Dominik's apology did not change Penn's decision not to attend mandatory minicamp, which begins Monday.

Penn refused to sign his $3.168-million tender and the Bucs exercised their option to reduce the offer to 110 percent of his 2009 salary, a loss of about $100,000. He said he and Texans tight end Owen Daniels are the only NFL players to receive similar tenders in each of the past two seasons.

What did Dominik apologize to Penn for?

"Then fact that I made some public statements about my feelings and I didn't think that was fair,'' Dominik said. "Regarding his weight. I didn't think that was fair to him.''

Dominik did not know his comments last week were being recorded or would be made public.

"Yeah, but you should always live in a world or a society when you're always on and that was insensitive and that's why I apologized to him.'

Penn, who has started 44 games at left tackle, said he still is hoping for a new contract extension but said there has been no discussions with the Bucs and his agent, Rocky Arceneaux on that matter.

"I'm going to give you the truth. We haven't really talked about contracts, but I hope so. That's the plan,'' Penn said. "I really hope that they have me in their future.

"They say, from everything I hear, they want to build around Josh Freeman. He's a great quarterback. So where should you start? It isn't like I haven't proven myself. Even when I was so called overweight, I still shut down the best of the best all year.'' 

Despite his discussion Saturday with Dominik and coach Raheem Morris, Penn said he was disappointed by the comment about his weight, which was reported to have increased to 380-pounds. Penn said Saturday he has lost 30 pounds since the end of the season working out twice a day in California.

"I was very disappointed,'' Penn said. "I really was disappointed. But me and Mark had a long talk earlier today and he talked to my agent that day, so we're good. Mark's one of my biggest fans, so we're good.

"I'm in great shape and that's one of the things I wanted to get to. I didn't do this for a new contract. I did this for me, for my health. Like last year, my joints and little aches were real bad when I was carrying all that weight, so I did this for me...so I could perform better. So I could perform at that Pro Bowl caliber.'

Penn said he has not decided whether to report to training camp or not. What will will it take for Penn to rejoin the Bucs?

"I'm not going to get into that,'' Penn said. "I'll talk to Mark and Raheem about that when the time comes. My agent and me will sit down and figure all that out. Hopefully, that will happen before the season starts so we get this on the road. I don't want to miss training camp. I don't plan on missing training camp.''

Penn said he attended Fanfest 'because the fans have nothing to do with this.

"I'm a nice guy. We've got a small fire right now,'' Penn said. "Hopefully, no more gasoline gets thrown on it.''

[Last modified: Monday, July 19, 2010 2:42pm]

    

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