Well, this certainly isn't good news.
According to Paul Domowitch of the Philadelphia Daily News, Eagles second year offensive tackle Lane Johnson has been suspended for the first four games of the 2014 NFL season. Johnson reportedly violated the league's performance enhancing substance policy.
League sources tell me Eagles starting RT Lane Johnson has tested positive for PEDs and will miss first 4 games.— Paul Domowitch (@pdomo) June 30, 2014
Johnson was drafted by the Eagles with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. He started and played in all 16 games at right tackle during his rookie season. Despite some rookie struggles in pass protection, Johnson really excelled as an athletic run blocker.
In hindsight, perhaps this suspension shouldn't come as a surprise. Johnson reportedly gained around 7 pounds of weight this offseason moving up from 310 to 317. Philadelphia also brought in veteran offensive lineman Daryn Colledge for a free agent visit. Colledge left town without a contract.
Johnson is the second Eagles player to be suspended this offseason. Eagles backup inside linebacker and special teams contributor Jake Knott was also hit with a four game suspension in early April. It's worth noting that both Knott and Johnson are entering their second seasons in the NFL.
Veteran offensive lineman Allen Barbre, whom the Eagles recently handed a contract extension, will likely fill in for Johnson during his absence. Or the Eagles could move veteran right guard Todd Herremans to right tackle and start Barbre in Herremans' place. Either way, Barbre will likely be involved somehow.
For the Eagles, this is obviously a really disappointing development. There was questionable depth along the offensive line and now it's even a little thinner. Johnson will miss the Eagles games against the Jacksonville Jaguars (9/7), Indianapolis Colts (9/15), Washington Redskins (9/21), and San Francisco 49ers (9/28). Johnson will be able to return to game play against the St. Louis Rams on October 5th.
Johnson will still be able to fully participate in the team's remaining offseason workouts such as training camp, preseason, etc.
[Note by Brandon Lee Gowton, 06/30/14 3:59 PM EDT] - Interesting update. It's worth noting that the Knott suspension was announced first by the team. So far there hasn't been confirmation on Johnson's reported suspension.
Re: Lane Johnson: NFL spokesperson says that no suspension has been handed down from league.— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) June 30, 2014
[Note by Brandon Lee Gowton, 06/30/14 4:38 PM EDT] - Jeff McLane confirms the suspension. The NFL still has not.
NFL source confirms that Lane Johnson has tested positive for using a PED and faces a four-game suspension.— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) June 30, 2014