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SoCal Legends: Donald Penn
By Amanda Scurlock, Sports Writer
Published April 15, 2021

FILE – In this Nov. 5, 2017, file photo, Oakland Raiders offensive tackle Donald Penn (72) sits on the sidelines during the first half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins,in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Raiders cut ties with Penn on Saturday, March 16, 2019, after signing Trent Brown to the richest contract ever for a tackle earlier in the week and drafting two tackles in the first three rounds last year. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

Donald Penn rose from a local prep athlete to a three-time Pro Bowler with a long career in the NFL.

During his formative years, Penn played basketball; he did not start playing football until his junior year at St. Bernard high school. That same year, Penn helped the Vikings boys’ basketball team to the CIF Southern Section Division 4-AA and CIF Division 4 State Championship games.

Former St. Bernard coach Greg Dixon convinced him to play football, then Penn began to get college offers for the sport. He ultimately enrolled at Utah State and played for the Aggies football team.

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Penn became a starter at right tackle during his freshmen year, he then started in every game for the following three years as a left tackle. His work on the offensive line helped the Aggies score 32.7 points per game.

As a senior, he was elected as team captain. Penn ultimately started in 44 consecutive games and was one of the most accomplished players in the history of the program.

Penn came into the NFL as a free agent and had a brief stint with the Minnesota Vikings in 2006. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers then signed him and quickly became a starter for the team. He blocked an extra point attempt against the Miami Dolphins in his first season.

In 2010, Penn scored his first NFL touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers. He was soon named as an alternate for the 2011 Pro Bowl, earning his first Pro Bowl honor. Penn was the first offensive tackle ever to represent the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Pro Bowl.

During the 2013 season, Penn scored his second touchdown against the Miami Dolphins.

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After seven years with the Buccaneers, Penn signed with the then Oakland Raiders. In 2016, Penn earned his second Pro Bowl honor. He earned his third invitation to the Pro Bowl the next year, but could not participate because he was recovering from foot surgery.

Penn (third to right) hosted an annual football and cheer camp for the youth in Los Angeles and invite his teammates to volunteer (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

In July 2019, Penn signed a one-year deal with the Washington Football team. While he was a free agent during the 2020 season, Utah State honored Penn’s numerous achievements by inducting him into their Hall of Fame.

On March 15, 2021, Penn signed a one-day contract with the Las Vegas Raiders to retire with the franchise. Penn spent 14 seasons in the NFL, making 170 consecutive starts. He started in 184 games during his career; he is tied for the most NFL touchdowns ever done by an offensive lineman with four touchdowns.

Penn made sure to give back to the youth in Los Angeles by co-hosting annual Football and Cheer camps with his ex-wife Dominique. During his time with the Raiders, Penn hosted the “Shop With a Jock” event where he treated 25 youths from the East Oakland Youth Center to a shopping spree at Walmart at Christmastime. He gifted the children $300 in the event and did similar philanthropy events during his time in Tampa Bay.

Categories: Football | History | History (Sports) | Local | Sports
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