It's finally official: Philadelphia Eagles starting right tackle Lane Johnson will be suspended for the four first games of the 2014 NFL season. This confirmation comes after a report from three weeks ago by Paul Domowitch that Johnson tested positive for PEDs and would be facing punishment from the league.
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.
Veteran tackle Allen Barbre appears to be the most likely candidate to fill for Johnson during his absence. Barbre was the first offensive lineman off the bench in case of injury last season. Others backup options could include second year guard/tackle Matt Tobin or third year tackle Dennis Kelly.
Johnson will still be able to fully participate in the team's remaining offseason workouts such as training camp, preseason, etc. The suspension will become effective on August 29th, one day after the final preseason game. He cannot be at the Eagles facility during the suspension. Johnson will return to the active roster on September 29th, 2014.
Eagles team statement
"We’re very disappointed to learn of his suspension. 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."
Lane Johnson statement
"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."
"I would like to sincerely apologize to Mr. Lurie, Howie Roseman, Coach 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."