Sources: Lane Johnson suspended pending appeal
Eagles tackle Lane Johnson was suspended by the NFL pending an appeal, league sources said.
The appeal hearing is scheduled for Oct. 4 and shortly thereafter a neutral arbitrator will render a decision. Johnson will play on Sunday against the Steelers. The Eagles have a bye the following week.
If the arbitrator upholds the suspension, Johnson will be suspended for the next ten games, starting with the Lions game on Oct. 9. He would be eligible to return to the team on Dec. 12 and play in the final three games of the regular season.
A NFL spokesman said the league office had no comment.
"Until I hear from the league office Lane's my starting right tackle," Eagles coach Doug Pederson said during his Tuesday news conference.
Johnson failed a drug test for a banned substance. It would be his second offense. He was suspended for four games in 2014.
Johnson was first told of the failed test in late July near the start of training camp. But he continued to play and started in the first two games of the season as he awaited the results of the B sample. He learned before last night's 29-14 victory over the Bears that the B sample confirmed the A sample.
Johnson said that he used a supplement that he thought was approved by the NFL after he checked with "Aegis" – a mobile phone app that was provided by the Players Association. He blamed the union for endorsing the app and said that it "does not stand up for players."
The NFLPA said that it doesn't approve of supplements or substances.
If Johnson were to lose the appeal, the Eagles would have to shuffle their offensive line. They prepared for the possibility during the preseason by moving left guard Allen Barbre to right tackle and initially promoting rookie Isaac Seumalo to left guard.
Seumalo suffered a shoulder injury before the third preseason game and Stefen Wisniewski took his place. Eagles coach Doug Pederson has not yet said who would start if Johnson were to be suspended. Wisniewski has been active ahead of Seumalo in both games, but Pederson said that the rookie's shoulder is still not 100 percent.
"If [Johnson is suspended] then we go back to what we did during training camp," Pederson said.
While the offensive line has been solid in pass protection, it has struggled in run blocking, particularly in the interior. Losing Johnson, who signed a five-year, $56.25 million contract extension in the offseason, could hinder the unit.
If he's suspended Johnson will have to stay away from the NovaCare Complex until he's reinstated.