Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs release left tackle Donald Penn, sign Anthony Collins

TAMPA — He was lined up to the left of the quarterback, as he will be on the field in the fall, a hulking new blindside bodyguard for the Bucs.

Anthony Collins had just signed a five-year, $30 million contract with Tampa Bay earlier Thursday, replacing left tackle Donald Penn, who was released as the team continued its house-cleaning of the offensive line.

"I have to protect this man right here with all my might," Collins said, glancing toward quarterback Josh McCown, seated next to him at an introductory news conference. "With all my might. Man up. I have to protect that man. That man got four kids over there."

Indeed, seated directly in front of McCown was his wife, Natalie, and their two girls and two boys ranging in age from 6 to 15.

For McCown, 34, becoming the team's starting quarterback under new coach Lovie Smith at this stage of his career is an unexpected consequence of his out-of-nowhere performance with the Bears last season. He went 3-2 and threw 13 touchdowns with only one interception in place of injured starter Jay Cutler.

"More than anything, there was just a peace," McCown said. "I'm a confident person. But you go, 'When am I going to put it all together?' Life is all these slices of moments, and it's just this moment that came together."

In his eighth stop in the NFL, McCown has found a job as a starter ahead of second-year pro Mike Glennon. Despite all his experience, over the past six years McCown actually has thrown for fewer touchdowns (19-15) and fewer yards (2,608-2,243) than Glennon did as a rookie.

"I had the privilege a couple years ago to coach high school football, and at the end of that season play on Christmas night at (Green Bay's) Lambeau Field with (the Bears)," McCown said. "I kind of started thinking then, you never know. For me to be sitting here, I understand why a lot of people say this is a surprise. But in our world, in my family's world, this is par for the course to have something relatively unusual happen. We're excited about this opportunity."

Though only 28, Collins had to wait six years for a team to believe he is a starting left tackle.

During his time with the Bengals, Collins started 25 games, many at guard and right tackle. It was only because of an injury to starter Andrew Whitworth last season that Collins got an opportunity to show his stuff in eight games at left tackle.

"Watching all the tackles this year, he's the one that jumped out the most to me," Bucs general manager Jason Licht said of Collins. "Because it was such a surprise to see a guy thrown into the starting lineup and to actually see their team perform better."

Evidently, Smith and Licht liked him much better than Penn, who had started 108 straight games for the team at left tackle.

Penn thanked Bucs fans for their support on Twitter shortly after his release and visited the Raiders later Thursday.

"Message 2 #bucnation thank u 4 all your support over the past 8yrs even when things were bad n good I will never 4get my time with the bucs," Penn tweeted. "I gave my all every single snap and put my heart in2 my team 108 straight games will always luv my bucs fans good luck in the future #70 OUT."

Penn's release saved the club about $7.5 million in salary cap, leaving it about $15 million under after three days of aggressive spending on six free agents.

"We knew we were going to be very active, extremely active," Licht said. "I can't say we knew we were going to get all these guys. If I had known that, I would've popped bubbly then because we're very excited about the guys we land."

Collins, the Bengals' 2008 fourth-round pick out of Kansas, said he was excited too, although he was all business when talking about becoming a full-time starter for the first time in his pro career.

"A lot of people get uncomfortable when they're put in certain positions," he said. "I'm very confident under pressure."

Bucs release left tackle Donald Penn, sign Anthony Collins 03/13/14 [Last modified: Thursday, March 13, 2014 10:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars


    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.
  2. Bucs top Jaguars behind strong first half



    There is a reason why the air in Tampa Bay is filled with playoff talk. If Thursday night's 12-8 Bucs preseason win over the Jaguars is any indication, it's also going to be filled with footballs thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown  on a 2-yard run, squeaking past linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter. He has five carries for 30 yards.
  3. Rays journal: Archer has strong outing, with two mistakes

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Two pitches RHP Chris Archer didn't execute are the ones that stood out Thursday as Josh Donaldson hit them out of the park. But the two solo home runs aside, Archer turned in a sterling outing that went atop the pile of good pitching the Rays keep wasting.

    Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) works during the first inning. [Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP]
  4. Tim Tebow continues wowing fans as he wraps up bay area games


    CLEARWATER — Tracey Fritzinger has seen Tim Tebow play baseball a few times this year. The 40-year-old St. Petersburg resident went to two of his games against the Tampa Yankees, along with Joy, her little sister from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

    St. Lucie Mets outfielder Tim Tebow, middle, hangs out in the dugout during Thursday night’s game against the Clearwater Threshers at Spectrum Field, the last of St. Lucie’s eight-day trip to the Tampa Bay area.
  5. Rays vs. Mariners, 7:10 Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Austin Pruitt (50) in the dugout during the ninth inning of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, April 2, 2017. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 7-3.