Lane Johnson, who started all 17 games for the Eagles at right tackle last year as a rookie first-round pick, will miss the first four games of the 2014 season thanks to a four-game NFL suspension for a positive PED test, a league source confirmed Monday afternoon to CSNPhilly.com Eagles Insider Geoff Mosher.
The news was first reported by Paul Domowitch of The Philadelphia Daily News.
According to the NFL collective bargaining agreement, a first positive test for performance-enhancing drugs is a four-game suspension.
Johnson will be able to participate in training camp, which opens late next month, and he will be allowed to participate in preseason games.
The suspension will cost Johnson $116,470, which is four game checks, or 4/17ths of his $495,000 base salary for 2014.
The NFL has not announced Johnson’s suspension. An Eagles spokesman said the club had no comment on the report. An NFL spokesman did not immediately return messages.
With Johnson unavailable, the Eagles could use Dennis Kelly, Allen Barbre or Matt Tobin to open the season at right tackle. Barbre, who recently signed a contract extension, is a versatile lineman who can play guard or tackle. Kelly started seven games at right tackle in 2012. Tobin is a highly regarded young backup tackle.
The Eagles' first four games are against the Jaguars, Colts, Redskins and 49ers. Johnson would be eligible to return to the team on Sept. 29, the day after the Eagles face the 49ers.
Johnson is the second Eagle this year and believed to be the sixth Eagle ever suspended for violating the NFL's drug policy. Linebacker Jake Knott learned early in the offseason he also would be suspended for the first four games of 2014. But Knott, unlike Johnson, is a fringe player, a reserve linebacker and special teamer. Johnson is one of the key figures on an offensive line that helped the Eagles rack up the 11th-most yards in NFL history last year.
He's the most prominent Eagle suspended by the NFL since 1994 first-round pick Bernard Williams, who was an all-rookie offensive tackle in 1994 but was suspended for six games for a positive marijuana test before the 1995 season and was then suspended again and never reinstated.