Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Raheem Morris won't rule out Penn attending minicamp

17

June

Unsigned starting left tackle Donald Penn hasn't committed to showing up any time soon, but Bucs coach Raheem isn't ruling out the possibility that Penn could make an appearance at next week's mandatory minicamp.

Penn will be in town to meet with fans -- and, perhaps, the media -- at Saturday's Fan Fest event at Raymond James Stadium. Whether he'll stick around for the three-day camp that starts Monday seems unlikely given his stance of staying away all offseason as he continues to hold out for a long-term contract. He has not signed his restricted free agent tender and has given no indication he plans to any time soon.

But nothing precludes him from attending, even though he isn't under contract. Players participate in offseason activities regularly before signing their tenders under an agreement that protects them if injured.

"We look forward to seeing him," Morris said. "I hope he is (here). It'd be nice to have him here."

Morris said he and Penn have talked regularly this offseason but he did not say whether Penn indicated he will attend the camp. But Morris emphasized that this is an important juncture in the offseason.

"It's a point (where) everybody needs to be here," Morris said. "We all want to be here to get better. Of course I'm not going to give him a way out and say 'You don't need to be here.' We want him to be here together, but at this point, it's all been voluntary. So, for his sake and our sake, we hope he shows up."

Penn is one of only a handful of restricted free agents in the league who remain unsigned. The Bucs earlier this week submitted documents that will lower Penn's tender by $100,000 to about $3.068 million.

He has started 44 straight games for Tampa Bay during the past two and a half years and has quietly established himself as one of the better left tackles in the game, bolstering his argument for a new contract. The Bucs meanwhile fear awarding him a rich deal would create discontent among other restricted free agent who have not been given long-term extensions. Linebacker Barrett Ruud would seemingly be at the top of that list, but he has already signed his tender and is locked into to playing under the terms of his deal in 2010.

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

    

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