Philadelphia Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson is returning to the team after a two-week absence to address his mental health.
“I would like to thank everyone for their understanding and support over the last two weeks,” he wrote on social media. “I appreciate the positive notes and messages as I’ve worked hard to restore my personal life. Depression and anxiety are things I’ve dealt with for a long time and have kept hidden from my friends and family. If you’re reading this and struggling, please know that you are not alone.
“I am excited to re-join my teammates and coaches. I’m grateful for the entire Eagles community and look forward to continuing to play in front of the best fans in the world.”
Johnson, 31, was a surprise inactive before the Eagles’ Oct. 3 game against the Kansas City Chiefs. His replacement, Jack Driscoll, said he was notified just a couple of hours before kickoff that he would be starting.
The team said Johnson was dealing with a personal matter.
Johnson has been open about football-related anxiety in the past. One of his best friends, Eagles right guard Brandon Brooks, has missed multiple games over his career due to anxiety-related illness. Johnson and Brooks have shared that they’ll often vomit at the same time pregame, then text each other to joke about it.
“We’re all human. We’re not monsters,” Johnson said during the Eagles’ Super Bowl run in 2017. “I think I heard it at the combine: 50% of guys have dealt with anxiety, depression. It’s not foreign. It’s just something that’s not talked about. It’s a stigma where it’s seen as a weakness. When you bring it to light, a lot of people in this world have it.”
Johnson missed three games in all, with Driscoll filling in for him against the Chiefs before left tackle Jordan Mailata was moved to the right side against the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His teammates continually wished Johnson well during his absence while keeping Johnson’s matter private.
“A lot of love for Lane. I’m praying for him,” quarterback Jalen Hurts said. “He’s in my heart, for sure.”
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