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Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackle Donald Penn misses deadline to sign tender

TAMPA — Donald Penn hasn't changed his stance about wanting a long-term contract, and now the Bucs know how deeply his cleats are dug in the turf on this issue.

In his strongest message, the starting left tackle let the deadline pass early Tuesday without signing the club's $3.168 million tender.

The Bucs have said they plan to exercise their option to reduce Penn's offer to 110 percent of last year's base salary, which is about $100,000 less than the original tender. The team had until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to submit the reduced tender.

Penn, 27, said he's undecided about whether to attend the team's mandatory minicamp Monday but may attend Fanfest on Saturday night. Penn's agent, Rocky Arceneaux, had no comment Tuesday.

Players have until Week 10 to sign or they can't play this season.

Penn, who has started 44 straight games at left tackle, has not participated in voluntary offseason workouts hoping to receive a long-term contract. Tampa Bay gave him the highest tender as an RFA, meaning it would have received first- and third-round picks if another team had signed Penn to an offer sheet.

The Bucs' other RFAs — linebacker Barrett Ruud, running back Cadillac Williams and tackle Jeremy Trueblood — signed tenders before Tuesday.

General manager Mark Dominik had no comment Tuesday. Last week, he indicated the club plans to fine Penn if he misses the mandatory minicamp or holds out of training camp.

"Obviously, I have a fondness of Donald Penn," Dominik said last week. "I pulled him from Minnesota's practice squad and I am proud of what he has done and I respect the position that he plays as well."

Penn is a huge part of the offense and is responsible for protecting the blind side of quarterback Josh Freeman.

Demar Dotson, a converted basketball player, has been taking reps at left tackle with the first team.

Penn was close to a long-term agreement with the Bucs the past two years. In 2008, Arceneaux believed Penn had an agreement with then-general manager Bruce Allen, but a contract was never executed. Last year, Penn was close to a deal with Dominik, but the accord fell apart.

Penn is not the only RFA to fail to sign his tender. The Chargers' Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeill missed the deadline and expect to have their offers reduced.

Regardless of the impasse, Penn is preparing to play in 2010. He has been working out twice a day in California and has lost about 35 pounds.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackle Donald Penn misses deadline to sign tender 06/15/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 16, 2010 6:50am]
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