By Michael Donovan

Eagles offensive linemen Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks have a lot in common:

“A lot of guys deal with anxiety, I mean, I have anxiety,” Johnson said yesterday, as quoted by NJ.com. “There’s a lot of guys that deal with the same stuff. Me and Brandon are really close. As far as off the field, I see him like he’s another brother. That’s why our offensive line has been so good, because we’re such good friends off the field.”

Brooks’ anxiety disorder caused him to miss two games last season, and has even sent him to the hospital.

“Going back to the Combine,” Johnson said. “I heard a stat that at least half of football players have anxiety issues, and deal with it. A lot of people view that as a weakness and think that it’s not manly to say that you have it, but, the truth is that in a high-stress and high-demand league, a lot of guys have it. It’s just a matter of how you deal with it, and what makes it beneficial to you.”  

In 2016 the Eagles began the season 3-1 before Johnson was forced to miss 10 games for PED use.

“I’m just happy to be here,” Johnson admitted. “Last year still weighs on my mind all the time. Every time I’m on the field, I just try to play my best. I think about it every day. Every time that I come in here, I think about the games that I missed. I let my teammates down. I try to give it back every time I’m on the field, every day at practice, I just try to give it back to them.”

“I think I help this team. I’m not trying to be arrogant. I think when I’m in there, I think I definitely help this team out. On the field, and off the field. I like this group of guys. I see them as my brothers. They’re guys that I enjoy being around. Whenever I’m away from this place, or in the offseason, I just miss them and the camaraderie we have here. It’s something special.”

“Damion Square this week, we were actually in the weight room and it was kind of see-through, and Damion walks over and he was just like ‘what’s up, Roid-Boy,” Johnson said. “I was like; ‘alright.’ When we got out on the field, we settled it. But, he was joking and having fun. But, still, it’s the type of stuff that makes you mad.”

“We’ve always had really good guys,” Johnson said. “I can just say, I’m lucky to be around these guys. As many times as I’ve been out of the building [due to a pair of suspensions]. It’s just a brotherhood. It’s guys that you can just go out and have a beer with, if you need to talk about something personal stuff. They’re there to have your back. It’s the same with the coaching staff, a lot of the coaches are close friends. I think the closer you are, the harder you’re going to play and coach for guys that you really care about.”