Early in his eight year run with the Buccaneers, Donald Penn was making history. In 2008, he helped lead the offense to 5,456 total yards, the highest single-season total in franchise history and led the offense to 361 points, the second highest team total in team history. Donald had an impressive 2010 season and only surrendered 3.5 sacks for the whole season which guided his way onto the 2011 Pro Bowl roster. After starting for 92 consecutive games for the Buccaneers, it is no wonder that the Oakland Raiders offered him a two year deal after his contract ended in 2014. In his first season with the Raiders, Donald started all 16 games and even had his third reception and ran it for his second career touchdown. At the end of the 2015 NFL season, Donald has started in 140 consecutive NFL games, an astonishing number.

Donald started his own foundation called the Donald Penn Foundation in 2011 to help the Donald Penn Foundation in 2011 to help inner-city and low income youth in Los Angeles make positive, life-changing decisions by providing education incentives, scholarship opportunities and support during the holidays. The Donald Penn Foundation also hosts an annual football camp at his high school in Playa Del Rey and invites hundreds of local kids out for a day filled with football drills and training for local youth, who will have the opportunity to be coached by professional athletes.

Donald’s charming personality has always found him in the spotlight and can be seen on the hottest red carpets and celebrity events. The media flocks to Donald and his playful personality and has been featured on the NFL Network, Jim Rome, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, Revolt TV, ESPN, Tanked on Animal Planet, Punk’d Spinoff -Sack’d, Esquire TV, Cuisine Noir and many more!

Donald and his wife Dominique have two boys and a baby girl.dpenn

Art Eddy: Let’s first talk some football. Right now you are with the Oakland Raiders doing some OTA’s (organized team activities) right now. How is it getting back into the swing of things?

Donald Penn: Good man. It is always a fun time because the period before this we were just doing a lot drills and doing stuff over and over again. So now we can get a little competition. This is the fun part. We are having fun out there with the team coming together. We are getting better at every aspect of the game. Even the little things. We are focusing on the little things. We are slowly getting back into it. I feel that there is a lot of progression from the guys.

AE: Last year you guys looked good. You and the team finished 7-9, but most of the games were close. What are you taking from what happened last year as you look ahead for the 2016 season?

DP: The crazy thing is that while we are doing our OTA’s I am seeing a lot of growth in me and in my team. Just by going through OTA’s I see Derek Carr learn a whole new offense. He is critiquing himself. He is getting better and better each day. He is having more time with guys and not bringing any new guys in. He is doing a good job in practice. We are growing as a squad. We are getting our timing down. We are vibing. We are getting things going. The defense is giving us a lot of competition in practice. It is fun. We are going back and forth.

AE: Take me back to your first NFL game. What was going through your mind at that time?

tdpennDP: It was crazy. It was Week 4 when I first actually played. We were playing Carolina. The guy in front of me went down. I didn’t even know he was down. I was on the sidelines and my offensive line coach ran up to me and said, ‘Are you scared to play?’

I told him I didn’t know it was him who was down. I grabbed my helmet and ran in there. I have been lucky enough and blessed enough that I haven’t missed a game since. I am just trying to keep it going and help my team any way possible and lead by example.

AE: You have done some work for different TV outlets talking about the game and breaking things down. You have a great personality for TV. Is that something you would like to do after you retire from the NFL?

DP: That would be something I would like to explore. I think I have a great personality and have a great knowledge of the game. We will see what happens. I would like to take a year or two off and enjoy my family.

AE: Switching to fatherhood now, what are some of the core values you looked to instill in your kids as they grow up?

DP: Right now I just try to make sure that they are respectful and that they say thank you to everybody. I hold the door for women and make them do it too. I tell them why. Little things like that and I try to lead by example. I try to make sure that I am always being a gentleman. I am going to make sure that they are good in school. My seven year old has been great. He has been on the honor roll the past two years. That is a good thing.

That is about it. I am trying to make sure that they are respectful, they listen to their mommy, and treat people well. You can’t be on them too hard. As kids they are going to make mistakes. You have to know when and when not to be hard on them.penn and child

AE: What were the first few thoughts that you had when you found out you were going to be a father?

DP: The first thing I thought was that I wanted a son. My oldest son is Donald the third. I gave him my name so I definitely wanted a son. I wanted to make sure I raised respectable men. I have two boys and a daughter. I need to make sure that I am not to overprotective of my daughter so I don’t hurt my relationship. (Both laugh.)

AE: What advice do you have for new dads out there?

DP: Be patient. One of the key things I always tell people if the baby is crying make sure the diaper is clean. They might be hungry or he or she might be tired. It is either going to be one of those three. It might be something else. You might want to go to the doctor because they might be sick. But overall you have to have patience.

Life of Dad Quick Five

AE: What is your favorite family movie?

DP: I think it is Finding Nemo. So we can’t wait to see the next one.

AE: What is your favorite song to dance to as a family?

DP: My son has been doing a lot of dabing right now to that Desiigner song, Panda. So I am going to have to go with that one.

AE: Describe the perfect family vacation.

DP: Somewhere by the ocean. The Caribbean and Hawaii are some of my favorite places.

penn and kicksAE: I love on your Twitter account, @DPENN70. You share the pictures of you and your kids wearing matching Air Jordans. I am a sneakerhead so I have to ask you which is your favorite pair of J’s?

DP: Oh man, that is hard. I would say the Cement 3’s.

AE: You have scored a few touchdowns in your career so far. Have you kept those footballs you scored with?

DP: Yes sir. I have them up in my office. All three of them. I have to put them up high because my kids are always trying to play with them. I had to put them up high so I wouldn’t lose them or get them mixed up. (Both laugh.)

Follow Donald at @DPENN70 on Twitter.