Lane Johnson is returning to the Philadelphia Eagles after an extended absence that left the city wondering if the franchise right tackle was okay. Johnson admitted he was battling depression and anxiety issues that he kept bottled up for some time, taking the time needed to tackle the situation -- instead of blocking it.
Johnson released a statement on his Twitter account announcing his return, and what he's battling.
"I would like to thank everyone for their understanding and support over the last two weeks. I appreciate the positive notes and messages as I've worked hard to restore my personal life," Johnson said. "Depression and anxiety are things I've dealt with for a long time and have kept hidden from my friends and family.
"If you're reading this and struggling, please know that you are not alone. I am excited to re-join my teammates and coaches. I'm grateful for the entire Eagles community and look forward to continuing to play in front of the best fans in the world!"
Johnson missed the Eagles' past three games due to his mental health struggles, as Philadelphia settled in at right tackle with Jack Driscoll and Jordan Mailata. Andre Dillard started at left tackle while Mailata moved to the right side for the past two games, but Mailata will slide back to left tackle with Johnson's return (Dillard is expected to move back to the second team).
Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni and Johnson's teammates voiced their concerns over the past few weeks, hoping Johnson would get the help he needed. Sirianni put Johnson's number on his visor during his absence, similar to Brandon Graham and Isaac Seumalo -- two players that were out for the season.
"We know how important Lane is to this football team," Johnson said. "We're here for Lane for everything and all our guys through good times and bad times. I wanted those guys to know that they are a part of it and they were there with us. Even though they weren't there on the field with us, they were there with us, and they have contributed to everything that's going on here and to this organization."