Johnson Waits on Appeal
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson is expected to play Sunday in Detroit but his status after that is in question.
The appeal of Johnson’s 10-game PED suspension concluded in New York Tuesday and a decision is expected to be announced in a week to 10 days, putting his Week 6 status in serious doubt.
"There are a number of issues relative to Lane's appeal," appeal lawyer Steve Zashin told Philly.com. "Many of those issues strike at the heart of substantive player protection. We await the decision of the arbitrator. In the meantime, Lane will prepare and play as scheduled."
The Eagles went through a scaled-down practice Monday coming off the bye week and Johnson was with the first team as usual, something expected to continue when full-scale work for Detroit begins on Wednesday.
If Johnson’s suspension is upheld as expected the Eagles’ stated plan is to kick out Allen Barbre from left guard to right tackle with veteran Stefen Wisniewski stepping in at left guard.
Another possibility emerged Tuesday when Ed Werder reported that the team may want to keep Barbre at left guard, where he is excelling if rookie fifth-round pick Halapoulivaati Vaitai is deemed ready to step in for Johnson, a scenario that has never been broached publicly by Eagles coach Doug Pederson.
Through the Eagles impressive 3-0 start, Johnson has been one of the team’s best player, rated as the third-best offensive tackle in the NFL by ProFootballFocus.com, behind only Tennessee’s Taylor Lewan and Washington’s Trent Williams. Barbre, meanwhile, has been rated the fourth best OG by PFF, trailing only Justin Pugh of the NY Giants, Zack Martin of Dallas, and Marshall Yanda of Baltimore.
Johnson, 26, admitted to testing positive for banned peptides in June from what he claimed was an over-the-counter supplement bought online.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen