Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson started every game as a rookie last season, missing just one snap in 17 games.
That likely won’t be happening again this season. Johnson likely will miss the first four games of the season after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, league sources told the Daily News.
Johnson, like any player, can appeal a positive drug test. But it’s not known whether he has done so. According to the league’s PED policy, a player must notify the league within five business days of receiving written notification of the positive test result that it wants a second sample tested
Neither Johnson, nor his agent, Ken Sarnoff, returned messages from the Daily News Monday.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said he did not expect the league to announce any drug suspensions Monday or Tuesday.
Losing Johnson for the first four games would be a major blow for one of the league’s most athletic lines. The Eagles didn’t have any of their five starting offensive linemen miss a single game last year. As a group, they missed just 98 snaps.
The Eagles’ first four games are against Jacksonville (home), Indianapolis (away), Washington (home) and San Francisco (away).
The suspension would have no effect on training camp and the preseason. Johnson would be able to practice with the team during training camp, which begins July 25, and play in the team’s preseason games.
The Eagles’ two best options as far as replacing Johnson for those first four games would be moving right guard Todd Herremans back out to right tackle, where he played eight games in 2012 before suffering a season-ending foot injury, and replacing him inside with versatile backup Allen Barbre, or more likely, just inserting Barbre at right tackle and keeping Herremans inside. Barbre has just seven career starts. All of them were in ’09 with Green Bay. All of them were at right tackle.
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