A day after Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni seemed unsure if Lane Johnson would return this season, one of Johnson’s oldest teammates said he wishes the best for him.
Johnson, 31, has missed the last two games with an undisclosed personal matter. And after missing walkthrough the first two days of this week, Johnson seems unlikely to play on Thursday Night Football against the Buccaneers.
“I’ve talked to Lane, I’ve met with him. I just wish the best for him,” Kelce said. “Everybody in here loves that guy. He’s such a great personality, a great person to be around, a guy that really makes our room a lot more fun, a lot more energetic. He’s obviously a great football player.”
Kelce said his meeting with Johnson came last week — he thinks Thursday — at the NovaCare Complex. He hasn’t seen him since.
Sirianni on Tuesday said he was “hopeful” that Johnson will return at some point this season. Kelce isn’t sure either.
“I don’t know,” said Kelce, who has been Johnson’s teammate since Johnson was drafted in 2013. “I don’t want to comment on that. I kind of feel like injuries, personal matters, stuff like that, that’s out of my realm for making that assessment.”
Johnson was a last-minute scratch against the Chiefs and has missed practice since then. NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark reported that Johnson returned to his home in Oklahoma and then returned during last week. Aside from that, public details have been sparse.
Sirianni did add Johnson’s No. 65 to his visor last week for the Charlotte game. That number joined 55 and 56, Brandon Graham and Isaac Seumalo, who are both out for the season. So there was some natural speculation that Johnson was done for the year too.
But Sirianni said that wasn’t the case. He just wanted those players in particular to know they’re still a part of the team.
If Johnson indeed misses his third straight game on Thursday, expect Jordan Mailata to make his second straight start at right tackle and for Andre Dillard to make his fourth straight start at left tackle.
That would set up a starting offensive line that looks like this (left to right): Dillard, Landon Dickerson, Kelce, Jack Driscoll, Mailata.
The Eagles have gotten used to playing with different offensive line combinations the last couple years and have some depth. They’d obviously like to have their three-time Pro Bowl right tackle back, but Johnson’s return doesn’t appear to be imminent.
“I just wish nothing but the best,” Kelce said. “Can’t say enough good things about Lane Johnson.”
Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast: