When offensive tackle Lane Johnson's suspension was first reported nearly a month ago, it wasn't too long after until it was pointed out that the Eagles already have had more PED suspensions in the Chip Kelly era (2) than in Andy Reid's thirteen year Philadelphia tenure (1). Eagles second year linebacker Jake Knott was the first player to be receive a four game suspension this offseason.
The timing of these suspensions, for some, was suspicious. Many were quick to joke that Kelly's infamous post-practice smoothies had been laced with an extra "boost" to increase player's performance.
According to Kelly, however, it's not the team that's to blame when it comes to these suspensions. It's the individual players. Kelly said the suspensions of Knott and Johnson do not indicate a lack of oversight by the team.
"No. I think we educate our plays all the time. I think anybody that's in the NFL knows you're going to get tested. There's also some individual responsibility that goes with the player. So, you know, if the answer is, I didn't know. They know. They get tested at the Combine. They get tested anywhere. Any one of these guys that comes from an NCAA institution knows they get tested.
They're also their own men. It's no different than if you got pulled over for a DUI, you're going to turn around and tell your employers, I didn't know I couldn't do that. They're adults. They're going to make mistakes. They're going to pay a hefty price for those mistakes. They're going to miss four games, four game checks. Hopefully that works.
In certain situations, here or anywhere in the NFL, there are guys that just got pulled over again that were suspended for a year. Sometimes I think the responsibility goes on the individual people in that situation"
Eagles starting outside linebacker Connor Barwin, now entering his 6th NFL season, also suggested that the suspensions of Knott and Johnson were "rookie mistakes." Barwin noted that veterans always clear medical prescriptions with team doctors.
Johnson, who spoke to the media after he reported to the team's facility on Friday, certainly took responsibility for his actions.
"I mean, we have... There's a list of like 100, 200 banned substances that you can't take. They're all over the building," Johnson explained. "Just something I think athletes kind of get carried away with a little bit. Obviously supplements like that aren't FDA regulated so it's real easy to maybe take something you're not aware of. But that's no excuse. In our meetings they tell us all the time to talk to our trainers, and that's something I didn't do."
Kelly confirmed that the poor-decision making from Johnson and Knott isn't to be blamed on a lack of PED education from the team.
"We talk about it all the time. We educate our guys on a daily basis. We don't wait for someone to make a mistake and say, Hey, look at this. We try to look at other teams. It's something we talk about. There's signs all over our building about what you can't take, what you can take. There's a protocol for what you're supposed to do. If there's ever a question, you are responsible for what you put in your body. If you're not sure, then you should ask. There's people you should ask. That's not what [Lane Johnson] did in that situation, and he's paying a price for it."