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Johnson Looks To Emulate Another Ironman

Posted Jan 29, 2016

Stepping up to the podium at the NovaCare Complex, Lane Johnson spoke to the media about a desire he has, one teammate Brent Celek had echoed just minutes before. Johnson wants to start and finish his playing career in the City of Brotherly Love.

On Friday, the offensive tackle took the first steps toward becoming an Eagle for life. With one year remaining on his rookie contract, Johnson signed a new, six-year agreement that will keep him in Philadelphia through the 2021 season.

“It’s kind of the style here,” Johnson said. “We like to get stuff done early, get locked in. I was happy when the deal came along. It’s obviously not something you want to pass up. I want to be here the rest of my career. I got a lot of guys in the locker room that are like brothers, like family to me. It’s where I want to be.”

Johnson’s role along the offensive line this upcoming season will have a lot to do with current left tackle Jason Peters. On multiple occasions during the 2015 season, the right tackle had to slide over and fill in for the eight-time Pro Bowl selection.

Peters suffered a number of injuries, affecting his performance, and he just turned 34 years old. Is it time for Johnson to become the permanent left tackle?

“I think that’s what they drafted me for,” Johnson said honestly. “Obviously, Jason Peters is probably the best tackle of all time, one of them, him and Walter Jones in my opinion. Having him here, he’s taught me so much. I’m just going to continue to do that until the time comes.

“We have a good relationship. Jason’s my friend. He knows what the deal is, but I think whenever he’s healthy, I still think he’s probably (one of) the best, if not the best, tackle in the league. Moving forward, all those decisions will be made, but for right now, I think he’s good where he’s at.”

Regardless of what is to come regarding the position, Johnson is aiming to step up and become a bigger leader on the Eagles’ offense. He is focused on improving, developing and becoming a stronger presence up front, a dependable, ironman-type player.

During his first three NFL seasons, Johnson never missed a game due to injury. In 2015 alone, the right tackle suffered knee, shoulder and ankle injuries but battled through to compete with his teammates each week.

“I think one guy I’ve always heard stories about was (Jon) Runyan,” the tackle explained. “Whenever he was here, just a guy that probably was the meanest guy around, tough and a guy that cracked his tailbone, yet got a shot for it every game. He kind of set the mentality of what it’s like to be here and I kind of looked up to him and try to emulate what he does as far as from a mentality standpoint.”

Now that Johnson’s future in Philadelphia is secure, he is focused on one thing, making sure the team rebounds and plays at the level it knows it can achieve. The Eagles have talent. They just need to put that product on the field, which they’ll aim to do in 2016.

“It’s definitely optimistic. We have a bunch of great young players here and veteran leaders like Celek, who’s a warrior,” he said. “I think we’re good where we’re at. Obviously, there’s probably going to be some changes moving forward, but I think we have a new taste in our mouth and we’ll do a lot of good things moving forward.”

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