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)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackle Donald Penn takes in his first Pro Bowl

Bucs left tackle Donald Penn has always been a stand-up guy for a player whose job is to keep the quarterback standing.

So when he was bypassed on the first ballot for the Pro Bowl last month, he didn't hide his disappointment.

But then, recognition has always come slowly for Penn.

An undrafted free agent who spent a season on the Vikings' practice squad, Penn, 27, earned his spot on the NFC squad for tonight's game when the Packers and Pro Bowl left tackle Chad Clifton defeated the Bears to reach Super Bowl XLV.

Not only is Penn, who will back up the Panthers' Jordan Gross, the first Bucs offensive tackle to play in the Pro Bowl, he is the team's only representative despite a 10-6 record.

Penn helped block for a Bucs offense that compiled more than 3,000 yards passing and 2,000 yards rushing in the same season for the first time while being the only Tampa Bay offensive lineman to start all 16 games.

"It feels real good. I'm very appreciative," Penn said Saturday of his Pro Bowl berth. "I keep working hard, and this will make me work harder so next year I can be on the first ballot. I feel privileged. I've been having a good time with the guys, talking to the guys, joking with the guys, getting to know them better off the field; the guys I battle against. It's been a great experience."

Penn talked about his time in Hawaii, his new contract and the new offensive line coach.

Does it feel strange to be the only Bucs representative despite winning 10 games?

Oh, yeah. I've got to get Josh Freeman, Davin Joseph, Mike Williams, Kellen (Winslow), Gerald McCoy … we've all got to get out here. We've got to make it a family affair now. That's the goal, to have all your guys to the Pro Bowl. I definitely want to bring those guys because I know they'd enjoy it. It's a great experience. I'm very happy, and I want to thank the Buccaneers fans for their support.

Who came with you to Hawaii?

I've got my whole family out here. I've got my mom, my dad, my stepmom, my son, my girl. Everybody is here. I've got two of my boys here. (My agent) Rocky (Arceneaux) has all his other clients here, so it's like the family is here.

That must make it even more special, right?

It's beautiful. It really is. I can't even explain it. It's a good time. It feels real good right now. I'm very happy.

What's it like getting to know some of the NFC teammates on defense that you battle against each Sunday?

The funny thing is getting to talk to (Julius) Peppers and (John) Abraham and DeMarcus Ware, who is one of my friends anyway. To talk to those guys that I battle with off the field, it's just fun. A couple times, we've talked about a couple plays that we had against each other. But when we are together, we're not really talking about football. We're talking about everything else.

Had you been to Hawaii before?

I came out here and played here in college in the Hula Bowl (a showcase game for seniors), and I came out here when Davin (Joseph) was in the Pro Bowl.

What do you make of the first-class treatment?

It's real nice. The family is loving the water and the beach. The weather has been great out here. Everybody has been meeting and greeting. It's very exciting. I grew up watching Michael Vick, and I was a big, big fan. It's been great getting to know him and to be in the huddle with Drew Brees and Matt Ryan, hearing their voices call the plays. I'm still a big fan. It's like being a little kid. I met Ray Lewis and Peyton Manning, too.

Do you think it might make you lose your edge?

No, you've got to go out there and compete even harder because you don't want to lose your bragging rights.

Do you feel like you have to raise your standard because you're a Pro Bowl player?

Oh, yeah, I want to go every year, and with the things the Buccaneers are doing, we're going to keep growing. We have a young team, and we're going to keep growing. I think I can grow in the system we have, and it's going to continue to happen for me and for a lot of our players. We're just going to keep getting better. I'm going to keep raising my game like I do every year, and our other players will. And I think we'll get a lot more guys out here.

Talk about your journey from holding out in the offseason, a new contract to start training camp and now the Pro Bowl.

It's been great. It's the start of a new year. Me and my agent said this is going to be our year, and we're starting off this year with a bang by being in the Pro Bowl. I just want to make this year better than last year. I'm excited I got all that stuff behind me, and I want thank the Glazers for getting everything done.

You have a new offensive line coach from the Vikings that you played for for one year. What's your take on Pat Morris?

I look forward to working with him again. I didn't get to end up with him at Minnesota, but I know he's a good coach. I think he's going to be a good person to fit in with our group. He's kind of laid-back. That's how our group is. Pete Mangurian is a great coach, and he's going to be missed. I have a lot of respect for him, and he's helped me out tremendously. But that's just part of the business. I'm looking forward to working with Pat Morris.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackle Donald Penn takes in his first Pro Bowl 01/29/11 [Last modified: Saturday, January 29, 2011 10:49pm]
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.