The preseason has been agonizing for Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson. With all the uncertainty of his immediate future, Johnson says he is excited to be in the lineup for Sunday's opener against the Cleveland Browns at Lincoln Financial Field.
Johnson has been waiting for word from the NFL on an expected 10-game suspension for a second violation of the league's performance-enhancing drug policy.
It's been more than a month since stories about the expected suspension began to surface, but Johnson says he has yet to hear from the NFL.
So at least for the debut of quarterback Carson Wentz, Johnson will be in the lineup.
It's been a difficult time for Johnson, and it's no surprise who he hopes to take out his frustration out on.
"There is a lot of anger and being [ticked] off, to be honest, so I am ready to go out there and whip some Browns ass," Johnson said after Friday's practice.
Johnson says he is surprised to be playing this week.
"Pretty much all preseason I didn't think this would happen," he said. "I am fortunate to be playing and I am out there to have some fun."
In four seasons Johnson, 26, has started all 44 games he has appeared in with the Eagles. The No. 4 overall pick in the 2013 draft, Johnson missed four games in 2014 because of a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson talked about how much Johnson's presence has given the entire offensive line a major boost.
"The confidence [with the line] is great and I've seen the confidence in Lane, too," Pederson said. "Just being back with the guys and working, it's really kind of, I don't want to say it's lifted their spirits, but that group started together that way and they are going into the regular season that way."
During the offseason Johnson signed a contract extension through 2021 worth $59 million with a maximum value of $63 million.
Now Johnson will enjoy the moment, because he doesn't know how many he will have this season.
"I have been taking it day by day, and trying to take advantage [of playing] until I hear something," he said. "It's been a waiting game and I am trying to make the best of the situation."
Defensive end Vinny Curry, who injured his knee in the Eagles' third preseason game, a 33-23 win at Indianapolis on Aug. 27, is listed as questionable. Curry was a full participant in practice on Friday after having limited participation on Wednesday and Thursday. Before practice, Pederson sounded confident. "We fully expect him to be available and play in this football game," Pederson said.
The NFL and its clubs will commemorate the 15th anniversary of September 11, 2001, during its games on Sunday.
Vice president Joe Biden will attend Sunday's Eagles game and take part in the pregame ceremony. He will join 120 first responders in holding the American flag during the national anthem.
All NFL games will feature a special presidential video message after the coin toss and prior to the playing of the National Anthem. The Eagles game and all the 1 p.m. contests will have a video message from President Barack Obama.
Tight end and special teams standout Trey Burton ended up on the injury report for the first time this week with a calf injury. He is listed as questionable and had limited participation in Friday's practice. . . . Wide receiver Bryce Treggs, the rookie from Cal, who was claimed off waivers on Sunday from the San Francisco 49ers, won't play this week due to a knee injury. . . . The Eagles have one open roster spot, but Pederson says he doesn't see it being filled by Sunday. . . . The only player the Browns list as out is cornerback Marcus Burley with a groin injury.
Browns rookie defensive lineman Carl Nassib of Penn State and Malvern Prep was quoted in Cleveland.com as saying that Wentz has a slow release. "We don't feel like it's a slow release," Pederson said. "It can be long at times."
Pederson then added, " But anticipation [and] throwing the ball on time can help that process [and] get the ball out of his hand fast. The design of the play can get the ball out of his hand fast."