The Philadelphia Eagles have been without Lane Johnson since he mysteriously left the team on Sunday, October 3. The starting right tackle reported to the practice facility to update teammates on his “personal matter” but never disclosed what was ailing him. Now there’s finally an answer.
Johnson shared a Twitter message on Monday, October 18 where he cites “depression and anxiety” as the reasons for his hiatus. The 31-year-old thanked the Eagles’ organization and fans for supporting him and revealed he would be re-joining the team this week. He has seen 187 snaps in three games before giving way to a combination of Jack Driscoll and Jordan Mailata at right tackle. The three-time Pro Bowler’s veteran leadership has been sorely missed.
Brandon Brooks – Johnson’s linemate on the right side – has been very open and honest about his own struggles with anxiety over the years. He has missed five games dating back to 2016 because of the illness which included vomiting and nausea during games. Johnson has been one of Brooks’ best friends in times of trouble, so it’s safe to assume the two have been working past their issues together.
“Depression and anxiety are things I have dealt with for a long time and have kept hidden from my friends and family,” Johnson wrote on social media. “If you’re reading this and struggling, please know that you are not alone.”
Johnson is expected to return to his starting spot at right tackle, with Mailata likely moving back to left tackle. Andre Dillard should move back to the bench.
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Nick Sirianni Offers Strong Support
Head coach Nick Sirianni had been reluctant to reveal what had been keeping Johnson out. He wanted to respect his star player’s privacy and protect the “personal matter” he was dealing with. After Johnson’s announcement, Sirianni doubled down on his support.
“Lane is a big part of everything we want to do here. He’s a great player, great person. I look forward to seeing him in the building and getting him back out there ready to roll,” Sirianni told SportsRadio 94WIP, via the team’s website. “We just want our players to know that we’re all here to support them at any time. Anything they’re going through, good or bad, that’s what a team does and that’s what we do here.”
Teammate Jason Kelce talked about how much Johnson meant to the locker room when he met with reporters, too.
“I’ve talked to Lane. I just wish the best for him,” Kelce said. “Everybody in here loves that guy. He’s such a great person to be around, a guy that makes our room a lot more fun – a lot more energetic, obviously he’s a great football player, and I just wish him nothing but the best. I can’t say enough good things about Lane Johnson.”
Eagle Not Sellers at Trade Deadline
Following the Zach Ertz trade, there has been chatter of the Eagles possibly being sellers at the NFL trade deadline. General manager Howie Roseman denied that notion and Sirianni was quick to agree. The team has 11 games to forge an identity and make a playoff push.
“I just know what we think in this building, that we’re trying to win every single game,” Sirianni said. “All our goals are still out there in front of us, and that we’re trying to win as many games as possible.”