Throughout this year's free agent process, and probably since Donald Penn was a kid, he wanted nothing more than to play for the Raiders. He got that chance over the past two seasons, but with his contract up, he didn't feel like the offers he was receiving from the Raiders showed the feeling was mutual.
It can be easy to forget these guys are human beings. Just as you are probably a fan with all the loyalties that come along with that, Penn has the same loyalties and he admits he let his emotions get the better of him. So, when confronted with the idea that his time with the Raiders could be done, it didn't sit well with him.
"It got frustrating and I had to sit back and talk to some guys that I knew throughout the league that had been through the free agency process." Penn told Sirius XM NFL radio. "They told me get your emotions out of it and take care of it as a business and look at it from the business side. . . Once I started doing that, things became a lot smoother and easier for me to handle."
That cool businesslike approach was working great right up until the Raiders made a huge investment in free agent offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele. The thought of the Raiders aggressively trying to replace him didn't sit well with him AT ALL. Not while he was still holding out hope they were looking to bring him back.
"I'm not gonna lie, I'm gonna tell you the truth, I was pissed," Penn said of the signing of Osemele. "I called Jack Del Rio when I saw they were signing him, I called him on his cell phone. We had a long talk and he reassured me that he (Osemele) was going to play guard. I was upset. I was mad because I thought he was coming in to play tackle. That was one of the times when I thought I wasn't going to come back there with the Raiders. But I called Jack Del Rio and he reassured me the guy was playing guard and that they wanted me back.
"That's a good addition to our offensive line. We got a young group. I'm the veteran. I know the guy a little bit, I know a lot about him. Great athlete, great runner, and he's very versatile. I think he'll fit very well in our room."
Even after that conversation, Penn had to protect his interests, so a week into free agency, with no word from the Raiders, he scheduled a free agent visit to the Giants. That was just the nudge Reggie McKenzie needed to bump up the Raiders' offer to keep him in Oakland.
"I've had a couple doubts in me because it was taking so long," Penn added. "I didn't know if they were thinking about going elsewhere, but when Reggie reassured me they were going my way, you know, I had other options, I was supposed to fly to New York this morning, but the Raiders came and put a stop to that last night."
He gets a 2-year, $14 million deal from the Raiders that will allow him to finish his career with the team upon which he always wanted to play. You gotta love that.