ALAMEDA – Donald Penn planned to seriously consider retirement after the 2017 season. That was back in early 2016, right after the left tackle signed a second two-year deal with the Raiders.
His body treated him right, but he wanted quality time with his family. He didn’t want one year too many to hinder that, especially laying it all on the line for a struggling team.
Penn played but one playoff game at that point, experiencing three winning seasons. At that point, it had been a while. Then the Raiders went 12-4 last season, and Penn had career year.
His mindset changed. The itch came back. He wasn’t ready for a swan song. Not quite yet.
Penn wasn’t done playing. He was done being a free agent. He wanted a raise to represent his play compared to other offensive tackles. He wanted an outline toward an actual end game, and he wanted to finish with the NFL team he first loved spending childhood Sundays with family at L.A. Memorial Coliseum.
A two-year, $20.6 million contract extension signed Friday got that done. It doesn’t include new money this season, the Las Vegas Review Journal reports, but provides some future guarantees and should compensate him well until the deal expires after 2019.
“There was a lot of doubt (about getting a new deal),” Penn said. “I didn’t want to hit free agency again. I told them, ‘You know how much I love you guys. Show me how much you guys love me back, and let’s get this done so I can retire a Raider.’
“I’m blessed that (owner Mark Davis) and the Raiders have that love, and I’m going to be able to live out my childhood dream.”
That will be finishing up in silver and black hopefully, Penn says, with a championship to his credit.
His quest for a new deal prompted a contract holdout. His love for teammates and a quest for glory brought him back Aug. 23 without a new deal in place.
“My mission is to help return us to greatness,” Penn said. “We’ve taken steps forward, but that mission isn’t complete. We have a good thing here and I didn’t want to leave. That’s a reason why I came in early on the holdout. If this contract didn’t happen…a Super Bowl championship is priceless. That’s what I was looking at when I came in early, sucked up my pride and went back to the mission. I’m not going to miss a chance to get to the Super Bowl. They kept their word and did everything possible and we got a deal done.”