Lane Johnson just can’t avoid talking about the New England Patriots.
More than three months after the underdog Eagles won the franchise’s first Super Bowl, Johnson took more shots at the Patriots, owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick in an unlikely venue: an hour-long interview with former wrestling star Steve Austin for his podcast, The Steve Austin Show.
Discussing the Eagles’ championship run, Austin asked the right tackle about comments he had made in February, when Johnson described the Patriots as a “fear-based organization.”
“The Patriots, obviously, I respect their coach; I respect Bill [Belichick], I respect Tom Brady, but just because the way that they won the Super Bowls, the Patriot Way, is that how everybody else is supposed to do the same thing? No, it’s not. And that’s what I got mad at, the arrogance by them,” Johnson said.
Listen (warning: explicit language):
Obviously, there’s no love lost between Johnson and the Patriots. Before the Super Bowl, the Eagles offensive lineman called quarterback Tom Brady a “pretty boy” and said there’s “nothing I’d like to do more than dethrone that guy.” Johnson’s criticism continued after the Eagles’ Super Bowl win, when he called the Patriots a “fear-based organization” on Barstool Sports’ Pardon My Take podcast.
“You only get to do this job one time, so let’s have fun while we’re doing it,” Johnson said back in February. “Not to be reckless, but I’d much rather have fun and win a Super Bowl than be miserable and win five Super Bowls.”
While the Eagles don’t face the Patriots in the regular season, the two teams are scheduled to meet during the preseason. The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin reacted to Johnson’s comments by suggesting the Eagles player take that opportunity to air his complaints face-to-face to Belichick and Kraft.
The Patriots might have a joint practice with the Eagles in the third week of training camp. Lane Johnson can tell Belichick and Kraft all about his issues with them
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) May 15, 2018
Reacting to Volin, Johnson invoked Bill Murray’s trash-talking bowler Ernie McCracken from 1996 comedy Kingpin.
— Lane Johnson (@Lanejohnson65) May 15, 2018
Johnson was also critical of former Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, who was fired late in the 2015 season after the team went a disappointing 6-9, following 10-6 finishes in his first two seasons.
“It was definitely exciting whenever he first came in, and we did some good things,” Johnson said. “Then we start getting rid of our best players. You’ve got DeSean Jackson, who can outrun everyone on the field. You’ve got Shady McCoy, who’s going to be one of the best running backs of all time. You just get rid of those guys just like that, and you set a tone. Players didn’t really like that.”
Johnson added, alluding to Kelly’s obsession with sports science: “We major in sports science, which is good thing — we still do it here. But I think we kind of went overboard with that. I think a good way to put it is we majored in the minors instead of focusing on some of the main points that we needed to.”
Obviously, it’s not the first time Johnson has been critical of Kelly. After the head coach’s firing, Johnson called him “a dictator” and said it was likely that Kelly’s ego that got in the way of doing what was best for the team.
“Too much power. Control. Not being human about things; not working together, with the team, instead of being a dictator,” Johnson said.
In contrast, Johnson had nothing but praise on Austin’s podcast for Doug Pederson, whom he credits with turning around the tone and direction of the franchise.
“The first year was kind of rocky, but once he got into a rhythm, I think he’s one of the best play-callers in the game,” Johnson said. “He never gets rattled. And one of my favorite things he says before every game — let your personality show. Because at the end of the day, we’re entertainers. That’s all we are.”