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Donald Penn's decision to end holdout is built on 'trust' with Raiders

After ending his 26-day holdout, offensive tackle Donald Penn said, "We have a great owner, a great GM. I came in here and put my trust in them." AP Photo/Ben Margot

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Donald Penn ended his 26-day holdout and reported to the Oakland Raiders this week without his desired new contract in hopes of still getting a raise, the Pro Bowl left tackle told reporters after the Raiders’ 24-20 exhibition loss at the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night.

“We have a great owner, a great GM,” Penn said of Mark Davis and Reggie McKenzie. “I came in here and put my trust in them.

“I am going to sit here and wait. Control what I can control. And try to get better from what I put out there today.”

Penn did not start against the Cowboys. Rather, he assumed his usual position on the Raiders’ second offensive series, with Marshall Newhouse, who has been starting at left tackle in Penn’s absence, flipping to the right side.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said the switch was seamless.

“I didn’t notice anything,” Carr said. “He’s our teammate, whether it was him or Marshall, if Vadal (Alexander) was in there, those are our guys. When everybody is here, we just roll. We have a system set up; we have a culture set up where we just play.”

Before last week’s preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams, Carr had never taken a professional snap without Penn protecting his blind side.

“So when Donald came back in there, I didn’t realize until we got to the sideline that it was a 10-play drive,” Carr said. “We had a good laugh about it.”

With Penn at left tackle and Oakland’s projected O-line in place with All-Pro left guard Kelechi Osemele, Pro Bowl center Rodney Hudson, right guard Gabe Jackson and Newhouse at right tackle, the Raiders embarked on a 10-play, 81-yard drive in 5:43, culminating in Carr’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Cordarrelle Patterson.

In all, Penn played 19 snaps, 31 percent of Oakland’s plays on offense, after reporting to the team facility on Wednesday.

“It was kind of crazy, because nobody really knew I was coming,” Penn said. “I just popped up on my own. I walked in there and went straight to the locker room and got dressed. They were like, ‘Hold up, you have to sign some papers first.’

“It felt good. I have been in contact with my teammates. I didn’t want to be gone. Nobody wants to be gone. But sometimes you have to do some stuff that you don’t want to do. I really didn’t want to do it, but it was something I had to do. I am happy it is over with, and hopefully we can move forward and get some stuff done, and get this thing rolling.”

Penn, 34, was purportedly miffed that his salary -- his contract calls for him to make $5.8 million in base this season -- did not rank in the top 10 of left tackles league wide. Rather, it is 11th in the NFL among pure left tackles, per ESPN Stats & Information, with Washington’s Trent Brown at the top at $11.25 million and Minnesota’s Riley Reiff 10th at $6.2 million.

Pro Football Focus ranked Penn 12th overall among tackles last season with a total grade of 86.3. He also had a run-block grade of 88.7 (fifth) and a pass-blocking efficiency grade of 96.9 (sixth).

Penn, who is in the second year of a two-year, $11.9 million contract that he signed in March of 2016, has not missed a regular-season game since joining the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2007.

He was charged with giving up just one sack in 621 pass snaps last season, although it was the hit that broke Carr’s right fibula.

Penn said he was on his way to his private workout Wednesday morning.

“I was talking on the phone to my agent, and I was like, you know what, I turned around and went home,” Penn said. “My boy picked me up and took me to the airport. I landed at 12:55 and I was at practice at 1:45. I got there and got back going. Anything I can do to help my team. I came back for them.”