It's not the bowl game he wanted to be playing in, but Lane Johnson will represent the Eagles as a member of the NFC squad at the Pro Bowl this week in Orlando, Florida, the NFL announced on Monday. Johnson replaces Cowboys tackle Tyron Smith on the all-star roster.
Johnson joins safety Malcolm Jenkins as the two Eagles who will play in the game. Three other Eagles – guard Brandon Brooks, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, and tight end Zach Ertz – were selected but won't join the festivities in Orlando.
It is Johnson's second consecutive Pro Bowl nomination following up a Super Bowl campaign that featured him also earning first-team All-Pro honors.
Johnson battled through injuries early in the 2018 season. He suffered a knee injury early in the win in Jacksonville that sidelined him the following week against Dallas. He came back and as he got stronger down the stretch, the offense took flight. Johnson was marvelous in handling Houston's J.J. Watt in Week 16 then Chicago's Khalil Mack in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
Of course, Johnson's stellar end-of-the-year outings came after the Pro Bowl squads were announced, but that wasn't any solace for the Eagles' right tackle.
“I’m pissed about it," Johnson said ahead of the matchup with Houston. "I’m not happy about it at all. It’s just more fuel to the fire, I guess.”
Johnson lost sleep over the perceived snub, saying that it's not just him but other right tackles.
“I feel there is no Pro Bowl for right tackles. It’s all left tackles,” Johnson declared. “I feel like the only reason I made it last year, and I still wasn’t starting, was because we were winning. But, it’s not just me. It’s other right tackles. That’s what bothers me the most, seeing all of these players not getting the recognition they deserve.
“I’m tired of getting doubted. I’m at a point in my career where it’s time to go. I’m ready to show my full potential. I think I had a little taste of it last year keeping my feet under me, staying away from injuries and playing good football. This will only fuel me more. It’s very disappointing.”
Well, there's no question about Johnson's importance to the Eagles. And if it happens to inspire him to play better in 2019, well, that's not good for opposing edge rushers.