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Eagles' Lane Johnson reportedly failed drug test

EAGLES TRAINING camp was going along a bit too quietly. No long-term, major injuries to key personnel. No contract disputes. No visible friction between Sam Bradford and Carson Wentz.

EAGLES TRAINING camp was going along a bit too quietly. No long-term, major injuries to key personnel. No contract disputes. No visible friction between Sam Bradford and Carson Wentz.

Then came news Tuesday alleging another positive drug test for standout right tackle Lane Johnson, from local radio personality Darren DeGaetano. Johnson first denied to the Daily News that he was being suspended, but he later spoke with Fox's Jay Glazer, who tweeted that Johnson is awaiting B-sample results from a drug test indicating the presence of banned peptides - amino acid compounds that can help build muscle and burn fat. Since Johnson already has served a four-game suspension for PED use in 2014, if he is suspended again, he'll miss 10 games.

This would throw into chaos an offensive line that is trying to recover from a disastrous 2015. Johnson, 26, was the fourth player taken in the 2013 draft. He is the presumed successor to 34-year-old left tackle Jason Peters, whose ability to play without getting hurt has become suspect. The Eagles didn't draft any offensive linemen between Johnson and 2016 third-rounder Isaac Seumalo, a guard who is off to a slow start in camp.

The current backup at right tackle is Dennis Kelly, a fifth-round pick in 2012 who has started 15 Eagles games, nine of them at right tackle. Three of those starts came during Johnson's previous suspension. There's also versatile veteran backup Andrew Gardner, with 11 starts, two at right tackle, and a handful of rookies, including fifth-round pick Halapoulivaati Vaitai.

The Eagles had no comment on the reports. An NFL spokesman said the league had no comment.

Texts to Johnson seeking further information and clarification have not been answered.

Glazer helped train Johnson during the offseason in 2015, with Johnson living in Glazer's house in the Los Angeles area. Glazer said that Johnson "says he took an amino acid that was approved but tested positive for peptide. Fighting it as well as company. You're responsible for what goes in your body but he insists it was approved. Waiting on B sample."

This would seem to mean that Johnson and the company that produced the amino acid supplement are disputing the test result, and that Johnson's B urine sample has not yet been tested.

Johnson's agent, Ken Sarnoff, released the following statement:

"1. We are aware that a member of the media has started a rumor that Lane will be suspended for a PED violation.

2. Lane has not been suspended and any report to the contrary is false.

3. Nonetheless, we will not comment on my client's protected health information."

Johnson signed a five-year, $56 million contract extension this offseason. ESPN's Field Yates reported that Johnson's guarantees, after the $10 million he has already received, would be voided if he had indeed tested positive again. This could amount to about $25 million, but that doesn't mean Johnson would lose the money if he remained under contract - it would mean that if the Eagles cut him, he wouldn't get it.

The team is unlikely to release Johnson, but this could cast a pall over his career. He would return from a second suspension with the knowledge that if he somehow took something else that triggered a positive test, the prescribed penalty for a third violation is a two-year ban.

A lot of Eagles fans undoubtedly will ponder why someone who already has lost four games' worth of paychecks to a banned-substance suspension would ever again take anything that wasn't explicitly cleared by his team's training staff and the league. (Though Bleacher Report's Alex Marvez did report Tuesday that Johnson's first suspension was for Adderall, an amphetamine, not a muscle-builder.)

Johnson's base salary this year, after the signing bonus, is just $675,000, so he would lose ten-seventeenths of that to a 10-game suspension. (There are 17 payment weeks in the season, including the bye.) More significant is that he also would lose ten-seventeenths of the $5 million 2016 proration of his signing bonus.

If Johnson is suspended 10 games, and the suspension begins with the Sept. 11 season opener against Cleveland, he wouldn't be eligible to return until the Nov. 28 game against Green Bay. Johnson is one of the three or four most prominent performers on an Eagles offense that lacks stars. Going most of the season without Johnson would make the Eagles, coming off a 7-9 year and already expected to struggle, a strong favorite to finish last in the NFC East.

After his previous suspension, Johnson said he felt "helpless" and "like a bystander" as he watched his teammates struggle through the early stages of what became an injury-plagued year for the o-line. Suspended players cannot visit the practice facility or communicate with coaches; in 2014, then-Eagles guard Todd Herremans texted and Skyped with Johnson to keep him up to date.

It's hard to say how much a player coming back from a 10-game suspension could contribute to a team's stretch drive, having not attended a practice or a meeting in more than two months.