Johnson Facing 10-Game PED Suspension
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - In potentially devastating news for the Eagles, starting right tackle Lane Johnson is reportedly facing a 10-game ban for again violating the league's performance-enhancing drugs policy.
The penalty was first reported WIP's Darren DeGaetano and then confirmed by NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.
Johnson, meanwhile, denied the allegations in a text to Philly.com, and an NFL source usually well-versed in such matters confirmed to 973espn.com that the University of Oklahoma product is on the radar for something but couldn't confirm where the league is in the process.
According to FOX's Jay Glazer, who trained with Johnson in MMA techniques in the past, the confusion stems from Johnson's belief that he took an approved amino acid that somehow came up dirty for peptide in testing.
Peptides are comprised of amino acids, the building blocks of protein, and certain formulations can aid in athletic performance. Typically they are formulated from raw materials imported from China and usually labeled not for human consumption but are readily available on a host of websites and are not classified as controlled substances. They've become a popular way of doping in many sports.
According to Glazer, Johnson's denial stems from that fact and he is waiting on the B sample. If that comes back dirty and B samples rarely contradict the original, the appeal process will officially start but the league has a zero-tolerance policy on what players put in their bodies and it's a difficult hill to climb to get something like this overturned.
Johnson's agent, Ken Sarnoff, denied the allegations.
"We are aware that a member of the media has started a rumor that Lane Johnson will be suspended for a PED violation," Sarnoff said in a statement released to ESPN. "Lane has not been suspended and any report to the contrary is false. Nonetheless, we will not comment on my client's protected health information."
The Eagles seemed blindsided by the news, which is atypical in these types of situations, and have not commented on the report.
Veteran Dennis Kelly is in line to replace Johnson if the right tackle is indeed suspended and rookie fifth-round pick Halapoulivaati Vaitai would stand a much better shot of making the roster.
Johnson was first suspended under the PED policy for the first four games of the 2014 season and signed a massive, five-year, $56 million contract this past offseason, making him the highest paid right tackle in the NFL.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen