One day after middle linebacker Barrett Ruud was openly expressing solidarity with a fellow restricted free agent, left tackle Donald Penn, he declined to speak to the media about Penn after the opening training camp practice Saturday morning after the offensive tackle was unexpectedly signed to a reported six-year deal worth $43 million.
On Friday during the player check-in for training camp, Ruud was asked by the media about Penn not showing up.
“I fully support Donald, and hopefully things get worked out," Ruud said. "That’s all I know about that part. … Until you get a decent contract, you kind of think about that every year. For a lot of guys they think about it from the time they are a rookie to the time they do sign a little bit more of a long-term deal. I can’t speak for guys who have had a couple of big contracts, but I think there’s always a lot of pressure on you. This league is so competitive, and it’s usually not a lot of guaranteed money – not like baseball or basketball where everything is guaranteed. I think you’re always under a lot of pressure from everybody to play well.”
Ruud, a former second-round pick in 2005, held out of the offseason workouts last year while attempting to get a long-term contract extension before his contract expired in 2010, but did report for training camp and started all 16 games. He signed a one-year tender this past April worth $3.268 million as a restricted free agent because he is only a fifth-year player.
Under the current scenario with the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players Association, players must accrue six seasons in the NFL before becoming unrestricted free agents instead of four.
While Ruud may be happy that Penn got his deal, he could be upset at the team for not negotiating with general manager Mark Dominik for a new deal for himself. Dominik has taken a public stance saying that he would not be negotiating with restricted free agents and implying that they would have to play out their one-year deals.
Unfortunately, Ruud dodged the media this morning so we don't have a grip on where is mind is at regarding Penn's new deal. We'll try to get discuss the matter with Ruud this afternoon.
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