Eagles

5 Minutes with Roob: Lane Johnson, from digging graves to Eagles

In today's "Five Minutes with Roob," Reuben Frank chats with Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson:

Roob: In this segment, we like to talk about something about the player the audience might not know. Your first job in high school, tell us, was a little off of the wall?
 
Johnson: Yeah, my stepfather’s best friend was the mortician in town and I got a job digging graves. I would also mow around the funeral home. It is pretty weird getting into it, but it was an odd job.
 
Roob: It must have built up some upper-body strength for you?
 
Johnson: I mean, a lot of it you do with a tractor. Once you get down to the bottom, it is just rocks, so I had to get an anvil to chip it away.  
 
Roob: How far deep did you go? 
 
Johnson: If we were doing a vault, we would do about 6½ feet.
 
Roob: Did you ever get freaked out?
 
Johnson: I mean, there are some stories of other workers cutting close to another grave, but I don’t want to get into those details, too much information. 
 
Roob: Your hometown of Groveton, Texas, which had a population of like 12. Tell me about life growing up in a small eastern Texas town?
 
Johnson: That is exactly what it was. Every Friday night everybody was at the football game. It was a good place to get a peace of mind. I had a good school district notarized for good football in the past, so it was a good place to develop and grow.

Roob: Before you went to Oklahoma, you played JUCO for a year. What was that experience like and did it help you get prepared for what you saw Oklahoma?
 
Johnson: Kilgore College was mentally the toughest place that I have ever been. It is really hard because when you go there you aren’t guaranteed anything and if you get injured there goes your scholarship. It is a dog-eat-dog world.
 
Roob: A lot has been made about how you came out of college as a defensive lineman and a quarterback. Do you think that helped you in your ability to read defenses, your understanding of the game and grasping what defenses are doing?
 
Johnson: Like that old saying, knowledge is power. Being able to pick up on stuff later on in my career has been important. I have developed a lot more than I did early on and that all comes with experience. 
 
Roob: You guys got off to a great start in Washington. How important was it to get to 1-0? It feels like a very confident locker room right now.
 
Johnson: Yeah, it’s good. Washington is a difficult place to play. It is a place we haven’t won at in numerous seasons. We are erasing the game from our mind and focus our attention on to the next game because the season is a marathon. You can’t get too high on your horse.
 
Roob: Obviously, last year you had a lot on your mind. How much different is it to go out and play knowing that your days were numbered?
 
Johnson: I cherish every moment that I am on the field. I know a lot of people doubt my abilities. So I am going to go out and go after the best pass rushers week in and week out.
 
Roob: What was the 10-week suspension like? How did you get through that?
 
Johnson: It is so tough, it still lingers. I feel like it is my time to pay back the team and the community. I have taken a lot over the years and it is my time to give back, get established here and go play hard for my team. 
 
Roob: What did you learn from that experience?
 
Johnson: I am on thin ice. You need to have accountability and not blame others for your mistakes. It has made me a stronger person. 
 
Roob: How have the fans been with everything?
 
Johnson: Philly has been great. When I go on the road, I hear it. It has been a blessing in disguise. I am not glad it happened but it has made me a better person.
 
Roob: What is the key to going into Arrowhead Stadium, one of the loudest outdoor stadiums in the league? 
 
Johnson: We have to be crisp with our silent count. We can’t shoot ourselves in the foot and we need to establish the run early. 
 
Roob: I have to ask you about Jason Peters since you have been a teammate of his for a couple of years. There will be a point where he is retired and in the Hall of Fame and you will be still playing. When all is said and done, and you look back at being around him and learning from him, how big has it been for you these first few years?
 
Johnson: I think Jason has helped develop me into the player that I am today. I had a slow start as a rookie and we would look back at mistakes I made to correct it. He is such a good person and is one of the few guys I love on this earth.