“Five Bucs That May Be On The 2013 Hot Seat” that was picked up on ProFootballTalk.com and numerous other national websites.
The original report stated that Penn “has failed to meet most of the weight clauses in his most recent contract, which also drives management crazy.”
That prompted Penn to take to his Twitter account and address ProFootballTalk.com and PewterReport.com’s Bucs beat writer and editor-in-chief Mark Cook, the author of the article.
“@ProFootballTalk 330 right now in the best shape I been in a long time stop reporting bull(expletive) I made all my weigh in last yr n this yr”
“I still shut down the best DEs in the game n ball out every Sunday I gave up 4 sacks all yr last season get yo (expletive) right”
“Keep reporting bull(expletive) on me n see the next time I do a interview wit u yo (expletive) is lies get the facts 1st Cook b4 u say (expletive)”
PewterReport.com issued the following update, which is listed below, to the article on Monday upon learning of new information that in fact Penn did meet all of his weight clauses in his contract for the prior year:
“UPDATED: PewterReport.com has learned on Monday that Penn did in fact meet his weight clauses for the 2012 season, although prior to 2012 Penn failed to meet some of the stipulations of weight in his contract, costing him of bonus money.”
In no way did PewterReport.com intend to personally attack Penn about his weight in reporting that he had missed prior weight clauses in the former Pro Bowl left tackle's contract. The error that was made – and the mistake that PewterReport.com regrets – was not reporting that he in fact did meet his targeted weight in 2012.
Penn was also praised for his play in the very same article on PewterReport.com, which was about five Bucs players that needed to perform well in 2013, primarily due to high salary cap figures:
“No one is questioning Penn’s outstanding Buccaneers career, but at age 30 and due almost $22 million over the next three years, Penn must not allow his level of play to slip in 2013.
“Signed from the Viking’s practice squad in 2006, the former Utah State standout is rivaling Buccaneers great Paul Gruber as one of the best – and most durable – offensive tackles in Buccaneers history. Penn has started 92 straight games at left tackle and while he rarely dominates his opponent, very few times does he allow the quarterback’s jersey to get soiled with grass stains.”
But on Wednesday, Penn was asked about the part of the story that focused on his weight, and his Twitter posts, which have since been deleted.
“I just hope it’s not going to be a trend,” Penn said. “Last offseason, [Tampa Bay Times Bucs beat writer] Rick Stroud came out with something – some true, a lot of it false. It seems like this year it came again – some more false stuff. It’s like … I don’t do anything to anybody. I’m a happy-go-lucky guy, and it seems like people are trying to attack me. I’m going to be bigger and better than that. I shouldn’t have reacted like that [on Twitter]. I wish I could take it back, but I’ve been working hard this year and I’ve been working hard this offseason.”
Former coaches have told PewterReport.com and the Tampa Bay Times that Penn struggled with his weight during the 2011 season. But Penn looked to be in tremendous shape on Wednesday, and admits that he weighs 330 pounds, which is 10 pounds less than his listed weight of 340 on the Bucs’ roster.
“Me and [Bucs head coach Greg] Schiano we had a lot of talks last year about where he wanted my weight because we had a disagreement on where he wanted it and where I thought I should be,” Penn said. “At the end of the day, that’s a battle I’m not going to win. I’ve done everything he’s asked me to do and I’ve done everything [Bucs general manager] Mark [Dominik] has asked me to do, starting last year.
“For that to come out after doing everything I’ve done, it really kind of stabbed me in the stomach. It made me feel bad. Where did that come from? I know it didn’t come from the Bucs because all I have been getting is praise. They are happy with what I’ve been doing and how I came in April 15. I came back in my football weight. I haven’t done that coming in on April 15 in a while. Usually I get down to it when I come back. But I came back already at the weight that [Schiano] wanted me to play at. For that little stupid report to come out … I guess they don’t have anything else to talk about.”
Schiano addressed Penn’s weight during Wednesday’s press conference. While Schiano acknowledged that it was not where he wanted it to be when he arrived in 2012, Penn has diligently worked to drop weight and keep it off since last offseason.
“Well, like so many of the big guys you have to keep an eye on it,” Schiano said. “When we first arrived his weight was not where we wanted it, but with Jay Butler and Kevin Luhrs, our nutritionist, and Todd Toriscelli, our trainer, and myself, we educated and talked to him about what we think is important as far as playing the position and being in an optimal size. He has done everything we have asked. For the last year probably he has hit all his weights and done a very good job. I think he has played well, too. I think Donald has really grown in this last year and I know it is weird for a veteran guy, but I see it. As far as managing his physical situation, he’s doing a much better job, as well as leading and being a positive influence. I am pleased.”
After addressing his comments directed towards PewterReport.com, Penn wanted to shift the focus away from what has been written about his weight and on to the improvements the Buccaneers have made this offseason.
“We need to focus on this great team that we are building and that we’ve got right now,” Penn said. “That’s what we need to focus on. We’re about to shock a lot of people next year. We’re going to do a lot of good things. Our team is out here working hard. These guys are really working hard. A lot of guys are getting better.
“We made some great moves this offseason and that’s going to put us above the level. Playing in the NFC South, you’ve got to. We’ve done a lot of things this [offseason] that is going to set us up for [this] year, and that’s what we should be talking about. That’s my main concern – getting better and being able to help my team. At the end of the day, my play speaks for itself. Half of you guys don’t watch film. The film doesn’t lie. I’m a consistent player. But my team is getting better and we’re working hard. We’re about to do big things.”
– Mark Cook contributed to this article