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New NFL drug policy wouldn't affect Lane Johnson suspension

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Eagles head coach Chip Kelly said he doesn't expect Lane Johnson's suspension to be cut short.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles head coach was asked about the status of second-year right tackle Lane Johnson in light of the recent news about a potential agreement between the NFL and NFLPA over the league's drug policy. Some teams around the league are expecting to have players (such as Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon and Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker) return sooner than expected due to their suspensions possibly being cut short.

Bleeding Green Nation wondered aloud last week if Johnson would be benefit from the new policy. Unfortunately for Philadelphia, however, it doesn't look like that will be the case. During his press conference on Friday, Kelly said that, based on his understanding, Johnson would not be impacted by the new policy.

So why wouldn't Johnson be eligible to return? Well, we don't actually know what Johnson took, but it's clear whatever it was doesn't fall into the category of an amphetamine or other drug that the NFL reclassifies. Otherwise, like those other players, his suspension would likely be cut short.

Johnson's suspension will end on Monday, September 29th. That's one day after the Eagles' Week 4 game against the San Francisco 49ers. Johnson will be eligible to play in the team's Week 5 game against the St. Louis Rams.

In the meantime, the Eagles are dealing with a number of injury issues on the offensive line. All-Pro left guard Evan Mathis was placed on injured reserve, designated to return and won't be eligible to play until November 10th. Fill-in starting right tackle Allen Barbre was placed on the season-ending injured reserve with a high ankle injury.

It would have been a relief for Philadelphia to get Johnson back sooner than expected. Unfortunately for the Eagles, that won't be the case.