Lane Johnson riles Eagles fans, then apologizes

Lane Johnson apologized after saying the Eagles don't really have a home-field advantage and that fans in Philadelphia "really don't care." Eric Hartline/USA Today Sports

PHILADELPHIA -- Lane Johnson has quickly become one of the more thoughtful and approachable players on the Philadelphia Eagles. With that, of course, comes the risk of saying something he regrets.

Johnson did just that Tuesday. In the wake of an ugly loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, Johnson was asked by Eagles 24/7 about the way the fans reacted.

“If we get down by any significant amount of points or we don’t make any first downs, we’re going to get booed,” Johnson told Birds 24/7. “That’s just kind of how it is. It’s not really home-field advantage playing here anymore. Really, that’s the truth. Cats here, they really don’t care.”

Reaction was immediate. The fans who pack Lincoln Financial Field don’t like being criticized by players or coaches. While Johnson was simply giving an honest answer to a reasonable question, Eagles fans were known as “boobirds” long before Johnson was born.

With fans reacting on talk radio and Twitter, Johnson posted a statement on his Twitter account:

“My comment about the fans was out of line and I apologize. I’m just frustrated like they are about our performance on the field. The bottom line is that we need to give them a reason to cheer by scoring and winning games. We need to EARN that home field advantage and I know that. Our fans deserve better. The Linc can rock and that’s on us to make it happen.”

Johnson also appeared on 97.5 The Fanatic, the ESPN station in Philadelphia.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I’ll own up to it. I’ve got nothing but love for the city.”

Johnson was the No. 4 pick in the 2013 NFL draft out of Oklahoma. He has started 38 games, missing only four games last season due to a PED-related suspension.

The Eagles play their next two games on the road, so Johnson won’t hear directly from the fans until the Dec. 13 game against the Buffalo Bills.