Are two suspensions in four months an indication that the Eagles are asleep at the wheel when it comes to monitoring their players for performance-enhancing drugs?
In April, second-year backup linebacker Jake Knott was slapped with a four-game PED suspension. Last week, second-year starting right tackle Lane Johnson also was hit with one. Both will miss the Eagles’ first four games.
Head coach Chip Kelly said Saturday that he doesn’t think the two suspensions indicate an organizational oversight problem when it comes to performance-enhancing drugs.
“We educate our players all the time,’’ Kelly said. “Anybody who’s in the NFL knows you’re going to get tested. There’s also some individual responsibility that goes with the players. If the answer is ‘I didn’t know,’ they know. They get tested at the combine. They get tested everywhere. Anybody who came from an NCAA institution has been tested in college.
“They are their own men. It’s like if you get pulled over for a DUI, are you gonna turn around and tell your employer, ‘You didn’t tell me I couldn’t do that?’ There’s a lot of responsibility on players. (Johnson and Knott) are both adults. They both made mistakes. They’re going to pay a very hefty price for those mistakes. They’re going to miss four games. They’re going to miss four game checks. Hopefully that works.’’
It should be noted that the Seahawks, who won the Super Bowl in February, have had seven players suspended for violating the league’s PED policy since 2011. No one is accusing them of being asleep at the switch.
--The plan right now is for veteran backup Allen Barbre to replace Johnson at right tackle in the first four games. Barbre took all of the first-team snaps in team work Saturday during the Eagles’ first training camp practice. Johnson worked with the second-team. Barbre said he didn’t find out until before practice that he was going to be taking the first-team reps. “I didn’t really know what they were going to do,’’ he said after practice. “We just really talked today. I’m just gonna step in and do my job.’’ Barbre, who has made just seven career starts, is a versatile player. He can play tackle or guard, left side or right side. While he worked primarily on the left side last season, his seven starts with the Packers in 2009 all were at right tackle. “I feel like I can play multiple positions,’’ he said. “I’m probably a little more comfortable on the left (side). But I’ve played them both enough that I think I’m comfortable at either one.’’ Johnson likely will slide back in at right tackle when his suspension is over. But what if Barbre plays really well in the first four games? Would he remain the starter? Would the Eagles keep their 2013 first-round pick on the bench? Barbre said that’s not something he’s thinking about right now. “I’m just going to go out there and do my job,’’ he said. “If I play well enough to start, then that’s what I’m going to keep doing.’’
--Two of the Eagles’ rookie draft picks – wide receiver Josh Huff and safety Ed Reynolds – had a scary collision in 11-on-11 work at the end of practice Saturday. Both went down and were holding their legs. But both eventually were able to get up on their own and walk off. Chip Kelly halted practice immediately after that play.
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