RICHMOND -- The biggest story of Redskins' training camp thus far has been about the player who has yet to show up, as left tackle Trent Williams continues to hold out.
In desperate need of offensive tackle depth, the Redskins signed left tackle Donald Penn on Tuesday, and head coach Jay Gruden confirmed the signing on Wednesday. The 36-year-old has been more than a serviceable left tackle, as he's made three Pro Bowls over his 12-year career.
Penn worked out for the Redskins last week but was not signed until Tuesday. So, what took so long?
"Well, I had other teams calling and other teams interested," Penn said. "I wanted to go home and weigh my options and I have been kind of comfortable the last five years being in Oakland because I’m from L.A. and my kids are out there, living close to home; coming out here is going to be a big decision. I wanted to make the best fit and best decision. The good thing is, the Redskins gave me time to do that and it ended up working out good."
But other than speaking with his family, Penn made a call to another left tackle in the league. That tackle? Trent Williams.
"Trent’s one of my good friends," Penn said. "I reached out to Trent before I signed. We had a good conversation and we talked. We’re on the same page."
Of course, Penn was immediately asked if he had any new information about his friend's holdout. But Penn made sure that conversation remained private.
"I’m not going to get into that too much," he said. "I mean, it was a personal conversation between me and Trent though, but I’ll just leave it at that."
There are two different ways you could look at this situation. The first is if Williams truly does not want to play for the organization again, why would he advise Penn, his friend, to sign there? Or, Williams could have told Penn that he is for sure not coming back, and the left tackle job is his to lose.
Only time will be able to answer those questions.
But should Williams return to the Redskins, Penn would still provide much-needed depth at the position by playing the swing tackle role. He seemed very open to that possibility on Wednesday.
"If they want me to be the swing guy – we talked about that – I'll definitely be the swing guy," he said. "You know, I talked to Trent [Williams] about that, too. So, we'll see what's going to happen, but right now I'm going to be focusing at left tackle."
Penn had his first action with the Redskins on Wednesday, participating in multiple individual and team drills. And even with the Redskins Pro Bowl LT still absent from training camp, Penn is excited for the offensive line group he gets to work with.
"We have a great O-Line coach, one of the best O-Line coaches in the league," he said on coach Bill Callahan. "That was another big factor [in signing with Washington]."
Penn made it clear that he signed with Washington for one reason: he's here to win.
"We got a good thing going because if we didn’t, you know I am going into my last year; I’m not just signing to play, I’m signing to win," he said.
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