Raiders offensive tackle Donald Penn has been on injured reserve since early October, but head coach Jon Gruden still hopes to get him back on the field this season.
“He has been downstairs rehabbing and we are hoping he can come back and help us,” Gruden said (via Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area). “I don’t know how close he is officially, but he is making progress. Hope to have him on the field before the season is over.”
Of course, the 2-9 Raiders aren’t playing for much this year, so there’s little sense in putting Penn on the field if he is less than 100 percent. There’s also the matter of his contract. As it stands, only $1.750M of his 2019 income is guaranteed. However, if he were to suffer a serious injury, the Raiders could be on the hook for his entire salary.
Also, activating Penn would rule out the possibility of a Marshawn Lynch return. The Raiders already burned one IR-designated to return spot on defensive tackle Justin Ellis, so activating Penn would keep Lynch from playing in the team’s Christmas Eve home finale against the Broncos.
Penn appeared in 14 games for the Raiders last season, the first time in his career that he failed to appear in all 16 regular-season contests. Pro Football Focus ranked him 23rd among eligible tackles, proving that the veteran still has something left in the tank.
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