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Eagles OT Johnson suspended four games

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jul 23 2014 12:51:19 PM MDT
Updated On: Jul 23 2014 01:41:39 PM MDT
Philadelphia Eagles helmet

NFL

Second-year offensive tackle Lane Johnson will miss the first four games serving a suspension for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Johnson, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2013 draft, is eligible to participate in training camp and all preseason practices and games.

"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," Johnson said in a team-issued release. "I would like to sincerely apologize to (owner) Mr. (Jeff) Lurie, Howie Roseman, Coach (Chip) Kelly and his staff, my teammates and our amazing Philadelphia Eagles fans. This will be very hard on me to not be battling with my teammates for four games - but I will be ready and better than ever when I return."

Dennis Kelly, a fifth-round pick in 2012, is listed as Johnson's primary backup at right tackle. Kelly could consider returning right guard Todd Herremans to right tackle or look to the waiver wire during training camp, which might be the more risky path to take considering the demands -- mental and physical -- of Kelly's system. Last season, he often flipped his tackles or lined up Johnson outside of left tackle Jason Peters in an imbalanced line.

Johnson can return to the active roster the day after the Eagles' Week 4 game -- Sept. 28 against the San Francisco 49ers -- but will sit out Week 1 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Week 2 at Indianapolis, Week 3 vs. Washington.

"We're very disappointed to learn of his suspension," the Eagles said in a news release. "We have spoken to Lane about the details of the suspension. He understood what he did wrong and took full responsibility. The key for him, however, is to learn from that mistake and move forward with his preparation for the 2014 season."

Eagles center Jason Kelce said he learned of the suspension before most of his teammates when Johnson came to him to explain the situation.

"You're suspended four games," Kelce said, "you are putting your teammates in a bind."