Donald Penn in good condition for training camp
TAMPA - Tampa Bay Buccaneers left tackle Donald Penn missed the entireoffseason while seeking a new contract and the big mystery was whether he would be in shape for training camp. Penn has completed nearly one week of training camp since signing a six-year deal worth $48 million, including $20 million guaranteed, and looked strong from Day One.
"It's awesome," Coach Raheem Morris said. "The best thing you can say about a left tackle is nothing, and that's what's really been said."
Penn hit the ground running and has played with the first team despite not practicing since the end of 2009.
Penn reported at 330 pounds and his contract contains a weight clause after the team expressed concern about his gaining 40 pounds by the end of last season. He will be weighed six times during the season and must be between 330-335 pounds.
Morris is satisfied with Penn's conditioning, but the left tackle is not content.
"You can run all you want, but being on the field with pads, hitting somebody and pushing grown men, it's a totally different conditioning," Penn said. "I feel pretty good. Some days it's super hot and it's harder, but ovserall I think it's good."
Penn's return to Tampa had a positive impact on the team, Morris said.
"He's been lively. He's been having fun. He's really made that group have fun and bounce around together," Morris said of Penn. "All the things you think can happen to a young football team as far as division from within, as far as jealously, it's just been the opposite.
Bucs sign local player
The team signed CB Darrell Pasco and waived/injured Matt O'Hanlon. Pasco, a Clearwater native, originally signed as an undrafted free agent on May 3 before being released on May 18. Hanlon originally joined theBucs after being claimed off waivers from Carolina on June 21.
Grimm ready for father's honor
Rookie S Cody Grimm's excuse for missing practice might be one Morris has never heard.
Grimm is the son of Russ Grimm, the former Washington Redskins guard, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. Cody Grimm will attend the ceremony in Canton, Ohio.
"He's just super excited, obviously," Cody said of his father, who starred on a Redskins offensive line known as The Hogs. "He never showed much emotion when he didn't get in, but when he got in, he was just overwhelmed. Also, my dad's whole side of the family is going to be there and I haven't seen my grandparents in several years.
"Once you start getting in college and the working world, it's hard to get everyone together in one place, so it's going to be good to see everyone. … I don't want to leave and get behind (at training camp), but I'll bring my playbook with me and study on the flight."
Oh, what a night
Fans will have their final opportunity to watch a training camp practice from 7-9 p.m. Saturday at Raymond James Stadium, and Morris intends for this session to be most entertaining.
The practice will feature Oklahoma drills, 1-on-1 competitions between receivers and defensive backs and a quarterback skills battle. The team will go "live," with players allowed to go full speed in contact drills, Morris said.
"The crowd just adds the element that we need," Morris said. "This is our Fan Fest with practice. We'll also have $1 hotdogs, which is like the big joke in the office right now."
There also will be a fireworks show. Admission is free, no ticket required.
Reporter Anwar S. Richardson can be reached at (813) 259-8425.
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