Wake-Up Call: Lane Johnson Appears Likely To Play
After Lane Johnson’s seven-hour appeal hearing yesterday in New York City on his 10-game suspension for his second failed drug test, no decision was immediately reached or announced. But precedent suggests Johnson won’t know his fate until next week, and in the interim, he appears likely to play against the Lions on Sunday.
“There are a number of issues relative to Lane’s appeal,” Steve Zashin, Johnson’s attorney, reportedly said in a statement. “Many of those issues strike at the heart of substantive player protections. We await the decision of the arbitrator. In the meantime, Lane will prepare and play as scheduled.”
Johnson practiced with the Eagles on Monday as the team’s starting right tackle, while Zach Ertz noted the team is “assuming” he will play in Detroit. If Johnson’s ban is upheld, Doug Pederson said last week Allen Barbre would move from left guard to right tackle, while Stefen Wisniewski would start at left guard.
Johnson, who hasn’t been available for comment in more than two weeks since his suspension was officially handed down by the league, last said he didn’t know on what grounds he would appeal on. When news leaked of Johnson’s failed test in August, he indicated he tested positive for peptides, but that he believed he was taking an approved amino acid.
According to Johnson, he checked to see if the supplement he purchased online was approved through the Aegis Shield app, which the NFL Players Association provides to players. Johnson also indicated his initial failed drug test in 2014, which resulted in a four-game suspension, was due to adderall. That substance is no longer listed as a performance-enhancing drug by the NFL.
“I want that to be clear that the NFLPA does not stand up for players,” Johnson said in August. “They don’t check the supplements they give us in the app. And then when you call them and ask them if you test positive for something they approve, it doesn’t matter.”
If Johnson’s suspension starts next week against Washington, he wouldn’t return until Week 16 when the Eagles play the Giants at home. The right tackle, who signed a five-year deal in January worth around $60 million, is off to an excellent start this season for Philadelphia. Johnson has allowed just three pressures in the first three games of the season, according to Pro Football Focus, while Allen Barbre has had similar success.
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WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
The Eagles want to forget last year’s 45-14 Thanksgiving loss to the Lions this week, pens Dave Zangaro of CSNPhilly.com.
Aside from just losing the game in embarrassing fashion, the Eagles also lost starting cornerback Nolan Carroll for the year. Carroll suffered a broken fibula early in the second quarter and was replaced by Eric Rowe, who didn’t come close to guarding Calvin Johnson. Carroll eventually needed surgery, from which he made a full recovery.
Carroll was in the locker room after the crushing loss, but couldn’t remember how bad the mood really was.
“I couldn’t tell you. I was there but I wasn’t there,” he said. “My mind was already zoned out. I was already thinking, ‘I need to get back home and figure out what’s going on, the next steps and surgery and all that.’ I wasn’t really too concerned about the loss. My mind was in a different place.”
Until it was brought up to him Monday, Carroll claimed it hadn’t even crossed his mind that he was going back to where he suffered a tough injury about 10 months ago.
Without that loss, it’s possible the Eagles’ 2015 season might have ended much differently. Instead of being 4-7, they would have been 5-6 with a win in Detroit and would have avoided a three-game skid.
It was a long time ago, but the Eagles desperately don’t want to relive the past this weekend.
Malcolm Jenkins is still fighting for league-wide respect, writes the Inquirer’s Jeff McLane.
He was stung by the initial snub but understood that there was competition. But when Jenkins learned that he was the seventh alternate, it further chipped away at a grudge he has held since the Saints allowed him to walk away in free agency three years ago.
Does he think his explosive three-game start will help him earn the league-wide recognition he feels he deserves?
“No, not really,” Jenkins said this week. “Obviously, the fans here and this team appreciate me, but when you’re talking about league-wide, just the respect from my opponents, I don’t know. And because I don’t know, I’m just telling myself that it’s not [there] and I act accordingly.”
Jenkins understands that statistics, fair or not, can influence outsiders and that defensive backs are often judged, fairly or not, by the number of interceptions they accrue. He has not had a lot, but he could have had he not dropped so many. There were about five would-be interceptions he couldn’t hang onto last year. He has had two opportunities he failed to convert this year.
Doug Pederson will address the media at 10:30.
Chris Jastrzembski contributed to this post.