Angelo Cataldi: Lane Johnson — Chip Kelly threat No. 1

sptp_lane-johnson Lane Johnson will miss the first four regular season Eagles games this season due to a drug violation. Credit: Getty Images

As anticipation grows for Chip Kelly’s second season coaching the Eagles, Lane Johnson is doing everything he can to kill the happy buzz. What the heck is wrong with 2013’s first-round draft pick?

First, Johnson managed to irritate his teammates when he Tweeted the copy of a $17,000 bill he picked up for the rookies at a special dinner last month. His own offensive linemates publicly criticized him for that move, calling it a breach of football etiquette to crow about his own generosity.

Far more damaging was the news last week that Johnson will be suspended for the first four games of the regular season because he tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug. So far, details have been scarce on what he took, and, not surprisingly, Johnson has become far less informative on Twitter.

It’s safe to say that Kelly , a proponent of smoothies, rigorous training programs and 10 hours of sleep per night, is not handling this transgression well. It is inconceivable that a coach so diligent about the health of his players would accept such a radical breach of training.

What it says about the mindset of such a promising player is equally troubling. Johnson struggled early in his rookie season, but was developing into the quality right tackle that Kelly envisioned when the coach made him the fourth overall pick last year. Why would Johnson feel a need to cheat? Does he know something we don’t?

Four games is a long time in the NFL, but it’s a safe bet that Lane Johnson’s biggest punishment came when Kelly called him into the office last week and told him to shut the door.

Idle thoughts

  • It is the middle of the baseball season, and you will notice no Phillies mentions (other than this one) here today. This snub is brought to you by a team so disappointing, more Philadelphia sports fans are watching soccer nowadays. Thanks for ruining the summer, boys.
  • OK, I’ll admit it. I watched almost all of the US-Germany World Cup game last week, and I can’t deny admiring goalkeeper Tim Howard’s amazing performance. But now that the Americans have been eliminated, can we stop this mad obsession with soccer? Please?
  • The insults for Nick Foles just keep on coming. Pete Prisco of CBS Sports named him the most overrated Eagle last week and a poll of NFL players and executives ranked Foles 15th among starting quarterbacks. One of the great joys of 2014 will be watching all of these so-called experts eat their words.
  • New Sixer Joel Embiid’s invitation to LeBron James to join him in Philadelphia was cute, but it also revealed just how clueless the injured first-round pick is about his new team. The Sixers would never bid on James for two reasons: He wants to win next year, and he’s healthy. So forget it, Joel. And don’t get well soon.
  • The Sixers appear are actually trying to bring back their softest player of the past decade, free-agent center Spencer Hawes. And you thought GM Sam Hinkie had no interest in attracting big crowds to the Wells Fargo Center next season. Shame on you.

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