Friday, July 25, 2014
Eagles' Lane Johnson: 'It's all on me'
By Phil Sheridan
PHILADELPHIA -- Lane Johnson saw the signs, posted all around the NovaCare Complex. They remind players to check with the Philadelphia Eagles' training staff before taking any prescriptions medications.
That medication prescribed by your hometown family physician might be on the NFL's list of banned substances. The doctor wouldn't know, but the Eagles' trainers would.
Offensive tackle Lane Johnson will miss the first four weeks of the Philadelphia Eagles' 2014 season.
"I wasn't here," Johnson said. "That's not an excuse. Usually, if you take any supplementary thing, you're supposed to talk to the head trainer. It was my mistake and I'm paying the price for it."
"It sucks," Johnson said. "The toughest part about it is I won't be around here to battle. I was expecting to come out here and get a good start, Week 1. That's something I can't do now. It's all my fault. I have nobody to blame but myself. It's all on me."
Johnson, the Eagles' first-round draft pick last year, started all of last season at right tackle. He said he was using the prescription medication in April. He received a letter from the NFL notifying him of the suspension early in May. He immediately informed general manager Howie Roseman so the Eagles could plan for his four-game absence.
"The biggest part is I let the team down," Johnson said. "I let the fans down. That's the toughest part."
Johnson reported for training camp Friday along with his teammates. He is able to practice throughout camp and participate in all four preseason games. However, he also knows coach Chip Kelly has to prepare someone else to start the season at right tackle. That's likely to be Allen Barbre, whom the Eagles signed to a contract extension in early June -- after they knew about Johnson's pending suspension.
Johnson said he wasn't sure how Kelly would handle his workload during camp.
"I'll know more tomorrow when we start," Johnson said. "I'm not quite sure how it's going to go. I'm sure the guys will fill my shoes really well."
Meanwhile, Johnson will have four weeks in September that he will have to use to prepare for his return in Week 5.
"That's the thing I'm going to figure out closer to Week 1, someplace I can go to try and keep in football shape, maybe do some one-on-ones with somebody," Johnson said. "That's going to be the toughest part, not being around here playing. It's hard to come and play in a game when you're not able to practice."
Johnson said he knows people will speculate about what he did and how it might have helped him add weight and strength during the offseason. He said there's nothing he can do about it.
"That's the rule," Johnson said. "I got what I deserved. Players have done this before, they've been in my shoes. As a professional, you're supposed to be aware of what you put in your body and take precautions. It's something I didn't do and now I'm paying the price."