TAMPA — Coach Raheem Morris continued to hold out hope Thursday that unsigned LT Donald Penn would show for the Bucs' three-day mandatory minicamp next week, but he won't get his wish.
The St. Petersburg Times has learned that Penn, 27, has no intention of attending, maintaining his refusal to sign the club's one-year restricted free agent tender of $3.168 million. Penn, however, plans to fly in from his home in Los Angeles to make an appearance Saturday at Raymond James Stadium for the team's annual FanFest, where it's expected he'll take questions from reporters.
For now, Morris' optimism appears nothing more than wishful thinking.
"We look forward to seeing him," he said. "I hope he is (here). It'd be nice to have him here.
"It's a point (where) everybody needs to be here. We all want to be here to get better. … For his sake and our sake, we hope he shows up."
Penn, heading into his fifth season, has skipped all 14 of the club's offseason team activity workouts, the last of which was Thursday. He's seeking a long-term extension after playing on a restricted free agent tender in 2009 and nearly striking a deal on an extension twice in the past two years.
Despite an earlier statement by GM Mark Dominik, the club cannot fine Penn as he is not under contract. Players under contract can be assessed substantial fines for skipping mandatory minicamps.
CAUGHT ON TAPE: Speaking of Penn, Dominik was recorded by a blogger making sharp comments about Penn's weight. The comments came during what the club described as a Q&A session with fans this week at One Buc Place. No media attended. A team spokesman said the chat was "off the record" and Dominik was unaware he was being recorded. The audio made its way onto the Internet.
"When you think about a left tackle and how important that position is, especially to a young franchise quarterback, and that guy during the season gains 40 pounds and basically turns his back to … keeping himself in shape, that's disappointing to me," Dominik said. "… I'm just being blatantly honest with you.
"I expected better from him. … When you look at the film, he continued to digress (during the season). This has nothing to do with money from the organization. This has nothing to do with the Glazers and their financial situation. This is strictly for him to show what he is as a football player."
Dominik wasn't exaggerating, as Penn did gain substantial weight last season. But Penn has undergone a transformation since, losing more than 35 pounds and greatly improving his physical condition.
Stephen F. Holder can be reached at email@example.com.