After weeks of speculation, it’s finally official: Philadelphia Eagles OT Lane Johnson has been suspended four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, the National Football Association announced Wednesday.
Lane Johnson, the 4th overall pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, started all 16 games last season. In a statement issued through the team, Johnson stated:
“In April while training, I mistakenly and foolishly put a prescribed medication in my body to help with a medical issue. I mistakenly failed to clear it with Eagles trainers and check the NFL list of banned substances. I am extremely sorry for this mistake and I will learn from it and be smarter in the future.”
Instead of hiding from the mistake, he has made an effort to own up to the mistake he made and move on.
The suspension will ultimately cost Johnson $116,470 or 4/17th of his base salary in 2014.
How will the Eagles be affected by the loss of Johnson?
Although the Eagles wished they had their starting Right Tackle, the loss of Johnson for 4 games should not put the team in a crisis mode. In early June, the Eagles signed back-up lineman Allen Barbre to a three-year contract extension. Allen Barbre is currently the favorite to replace Johnson during his absence because he already started 8 NFL games at right tackle. However, the right tackle position will be up for grabs during the next few weeks of training camp. Although Allen Barbre is the clear favorite to start, don’t count out Dennis Kelly, Matt Tobin, and Michael Bamiro just yet. These three young players will be showing fans and the team what they can do in the absence of Lane Johnson.
Obviously, the loss of Lane Johnson is not what fans were hoping for, but it not a reason to be in a crisis mode either.