September 6, 2017 - 7:32 am
Updated September 6, 2017 - 7:38 am
ALAMEDA, Calif. — Donald Penn passed his first test on Aug. 26.
The Raiders left tackle, three days after ending a 26-day holdout, played 19 snaps in an exhibiton against the Dallas Cowboys. His workload consisted of two offensive series, the first of which lasted 10 plays and culminated in a touchdown.
He is hopeful he is ready for a more extraneous test on Sunday.
He is hopeful he’ll take it with a new contract.
A significant few days await Penn. The 11th-year NFL veteran will face the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, looking to play all 65 or so of the Raiders’ estimated snaps. He is cautiously optimistic his body is ready. Meanwhile, he reported to the team on Aug. 23 feeling assured his contract situation would be addressed before kickoff.
The clock is ticking.
Penn, 34, is currently slated to earn a $5.8 million salary in 2017 and up to $750,000 in potential in-season incentives. He seeks to be compensated like a top-10 caliber player at his position, an adjustment requiring a raise of a few million dollars.
“That’s what they told me, so we’re going to see,” Penn said Tuesday of a new deal before the season. “We still have a couple days this week, so we’ll see what happens.”
As for his Sunday readiness, he’ll also wait and see.
A starter’s workload varies from week to week based on game flow. Penn played all 65 offensive snaps in Week 3 against these same Titans last September in Nashville. That snap count is typical. But there are other games that defy expectation. In Week 8 of 2016, he played 96 offensive snaps against the Buccaneers with an additional four on special teams. In Week 9, he played 94 total snaps versus the Broncos.
Largely to his holdout, Penn missed all of training camp and three of four exhibitions.
He is unable to declare with certainty his readiness for what awaits.
“To be honest with you, I’m not going to know until I get out there and play,” Penn said. “It’s hard to get in football shape. You try and do everything you can, but to be in actual football shape is hard. I’m just going to go out there and believe in all my training. I have been working hard. I felt pretty good against Dallas in those 19 plays. That helped me out mentally, knowing, ‘OK, that Dallas game, I was good. I held in there.’
“It’s going to be a good test. … I should be ready. I’m going in there (Sunday) with that positive mentality.”
Penn should have weather conditions on his side.
At kickoff time, Nashville is forecast to be 76 degrees with 46 percent relative humidity, according to the National Weather Service.
Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.