Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson spoke to reporters on Friday and gave some more updates on his groin injury and how he’s been able to play through it. He talked about the core group of veterans and the significance of playing together for 10-plus years, and also acknowledged that going to his second Super Bowl, he learned to appreciate it more this time around.
Here’s what the RT had to say:
On his injury and recovery
“I feel better now than I did initially, like the first game. The first game was my biggest challenge. I mean, obviously, last game was a challenge in itself, but I feel like the first game for me personally was harder to get ready for — because I wasn’t sure I could play through it. But, after the initial contact in the first game, I was good. I had better confidence from the second drive on.”
Johnson said that he’s learned to play with it and it’s not affecting him as much. He noted that the more he practices with it, and having longer stretches to allow his body more time to heal, he’s been able to play without thinking about the injury as much.
“And then, having this additional week to practice and rehab has been huge. I haven’t had to press it like I did last week.”
Johnson had previously mentioned that when he learned Cam Jordan played through a similar injury, he had more confidence that he would be able to, as well. On Friday, the RT said that he did reach out to Jordan’s teammate Cesar Ruiz, who pretty much told him, “Good luck, it’s gonna hurt.”
He explained the rehab process a little, saying that the Eagles training staff works on him in the morning before practice, and after practice, and then he does other stuff when he gets home, as well.
On Jason Kelce
Johnson said that Jason Kelce’s contributions on and off the field are pretty well known, and called him the “nucleus of this team.” He went on to say that the passion Kelce plays with, bleeds into everything they’ve done over the years, as far as the culture goes.
The right tackle was asked about how Jason and Travis Kelce compare.
“I think they’re both extremely serious about their jobs. Sometimes they may come off — I feel like Travis more jokingly, like he’s more laid back, but in order to, I think, be the level that they’re at, that they obviously take their job very serious. I know Travis may have more swag, from the looks of it, but O-line is a swaggerless position most times.”
On going to his 2nd Super Bowl
Johnson joked that he’s a little older, a little wiser, and a little balder this time around, but admitted that he’s enjoying it.
“I feel like the first time I didn’t really document as well as what I like, far as pictures and memories. It was a quick week and it was the first time going there. But, second time around, my goal is to put as much work in, much focus in as I can, but at the same time, enjoy it.”
The RT also admitted that he appreciates the moment a little more given what he’s gone through the past couple years, with his mental health struggles and injuries. He said that when you go through different things, your perception grows, and he’s more thankful.
Johnson also talked about when he started feeling like this team could make it all the way, and he pointed to some of the offseason moves they made and knowing that certain guys were going to fill needs they had. Plus, he said, in-season when they brought in Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph, it spoke to the commitment to what they wanted to accomplish this season.
On the 4 core veterans
Johnson was asked about the significance of having four guys still playing together after 10 years — himself, Kelce, Brandon Graham, and Fletcher Cox.
“What an incredible ride it’s been with those guys — Kelce, Fletch, and BG. It’s very fortunate to be in this position. Not a whole lot of players get to experience it. With the core group of guys, but going forward, I mean, just like the last interview after the game, I was like, I’m thankful to be with these guys. Them showing their emotion after the game. I know how much it means to ‘em. They don’t have to say anything, I’ve been around them for all these years, I know how they operate, I know how much it means to ‘em. So, it goes unsaid that we just want to give it everything I have for the next whatever days it is til the game’s over and that’s really all you can do, but enjoy it along the way.”