Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson hasn’t been at OTAs yet this offseason. That’s something he elaborated on when he recently called in to The Zach Gelb Show on CBS Sports Radio to discuss various topics.
On Carson Wentz
Johnson said he’s “expecting big things” from Carson Wentz this season and that people doubting the Eagles quarterback will serve as motivation. He talked about how Wentz has been working hard to come back from injury, and things should be different from last year.
The right tackle was later asked about Donovan McNabb’s comments about Wentz needing to make a strong playoff push or the team needing to invest in quarterback through the draft. Those comments had Johnson take to Twitter to make some of his own assertions about the Eagles alumnus, which he said in retrospect he probably shouldn’t have done.
Johnson elaborated that his whole point was that it doesn’t matter how much success you’ve had in your career — whether it’s as a 6-time or 18-time Pro Bowler — it’s how you treat people. And he said that’s the same thing he focuses on as well, keeping his ego in check and staying humble.
But, he wishes McNabb the best and understands he has a job to do, but just would rather things come from a positive place.
On the latest beer-chugging contests
Lane was asked about whether he’d consider teaming up with Carson Wentz to challenge Packers OL David Bakhtiari and QB Aaron Rodgers in a beer chugging contest — after Rodgers lost spectacularly to Bakhtiari during the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals.
Johnson joked that the whole point of drinking a beer is to get intoxicated, whether that’s by drinking it fast or slow, so instead he suggested a contest to see who could get more intoxicated and makes the biggest fool out of themselves.
On this year’s team and his OTA absence
With the Eagles emphasizing that they want to make a push deep into the playoffs every year, Johnson was asked if this year’s roster has that potential.
“Most definitely, that’s the goal out of every season. A lot of people say that but do you really believe it? But, I think we believe it. Even as bad as last year got, I think if you turn the table with a lot of guys, lose their starting quarterback and lose half of their secondary not all their secondary, we’ll see what they’ll do.”
Johnson said that the team’s will is strong, and that while the ultimate goal is always the Super Bowl, he tries to keep everything in perspective and puts a lot of emphasis on enjoying what he’s doing and the teammates around him.
The right tackle was also asked about whether he felt like the team was coming off any type of Super Bowl hangover following the victory.
“I think, ultimately, there’s a relief factor [...] There’s a human factor, and kind of take a breath and sit back, and say ‘I made it’, so it was a learning experience. And, you know, we’ve been humbled, I’ve been humbled – a lot of people got humbled – but that’s part of the experience, and we’ve learned that and I think moving forward we’ll use that to our advantage.”
Johnson also said there was nothing behind him not yet attending OTAs, and that the misconception is that he isn’t working. In fact, he said a big factor is that a lot of the guys are recovering from injuries. For him specifically, he was playing almost the whole season with one leg out of commission, with a high ankle sprain and other issues plaguing him.
On being involved in trick plays
Johnson was a high school and JUCO quarterback before transitioning to the offensive line when he transferred to Oklahoma, which prompted Gelb to ask whether Johnson has ever asked head coach Doug Pederson to let him in on any of the trick play action.
“I’ve been involved in some plays that were never run in a game, but they were there. Maybe it’ll happen one day. We’ll see what happens.”
On Chris Long and his retirement
“Really, really good person when it comes down to it. Forget the career, forget what he’s done or what he’s doing, he’s just genuinely a good dude. And I think it’s one thing a lot of people are going to miss about him and kind of why they want him back, because he was so good for our team.
Above what he did on the field but just really off the field he kind of brought everybody together with his personality and his demeanor, and kind of his perspective on everything. I think Chris is in a good place now, he’s happy, he’s got a young son Waylon, and so I think he’s going to make that transition.”
On the NFL allowing players to smoke marijuana
Just after talking about Chris Long the player and person, Gelb brought up the interview Long did about his stance on players using marijuana. Johnson was asked what his thoughts on the matter were, and he suggested just keeping an open mind about it.
He said that having a closed mind about those things doesn’t get you anywhere, and noted to just let science run it’s course and do the work and the research, and then decide based on the results.
On giving back and his JUCO motivation
Johnson opened the show by discussing his decision to donate $500,000 to Kilgore College — where he played quarterback before transferring to Oklahoma — to open “The Lane” Athletic Performance Center. Johnson said that giving back is what it’s all about, and he wanted to give back to the coaches and the place that gave him the opportunity to get to where he is today.
Johnson also talked about having to silence the doubters early on, because a lot of people questioned whether a guy from such a small community could make it to the big time. He said people still have doubts about him to this day, but that’s a good motivating factor for him and it’s important not to let those voices kill your dreams.