EAGLES JOHNSON A PRO BOWL ALTERNATE: ‘PISSED’ HE WASN’T CHOSEN!

By Peter Gleason

Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson is in Orlando for Sunday’s Pro Bowl.

And even though it’s not clear if the ankle injury that kept him out of the last three regular season games and the wild card loss to Seattle will also keep him out on Sunday, he was chosen as an alternate after missing the original cut.

“I’m not going to lie. I was pretty pissed when I wasn’t here,” Johnson told The Athletic after yesterday’s NFC’s practice.

“I think it was probably my best season to date — even better than a few years ago,” Johnson said, making the comparison to 2017, when he earned a spot during the earlier voting stages. “I played stronger. I was the best version of myself this year. The longer you play and your body is half-ass healthy … the game becomes easier.”

Johnson injured the ankle in Week 14 against the Giants. The Eagles needed to go on their late-season run without him. Johnson played through wince-inducing injuries during his career, especially in 2018. But his ankle injury, which has almost entirely healed, proved too much for Johnson to endure. It clouds the way he views the season.

“I just wanted to get back on the field,” Johnson said. “Sucks the way the season ended. My shit ended pretty early.”

Pro Bowl voting was finalized in Week 16, so Johnson’s missed time didn’t play a major factor.

He’s not one of those players who acts like accolades don’t matter. He’s conscious of his standing in the NFL. He doesn’t view the alternate status as a lesser achievement because he realizes the challenge that is earning an invitation.

“It’s hard getting here, I feel, as a right tackle,” Johnson said.

Johnson signed a four-year, $72 million contract extension in November that made him the highest-paid offensive lineman, yet it still bothers him when he’s not voted into the annual All-Star game. And it’s not lost on Johnson that five of the six offensive tackles who were voted on the initial balloting play on the left side.

“I’m just trying to validate right tackles — that’s really it,” Johnson said. “It’s still seen as a left tackle’s game. I’m trying to change that.”

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