PHILADELPHIA -- After a two-week absence, Lane Johnson, right tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles, is back with the team. He was absent to take care of his mental health.
He wrote that he wanted to express his gratitude for everyone's support and understanding over the past two weeks via social media. "I'm grateful for the positive messages and notes as I have worked hard to rebuild my personal life. Depression and anxiety have been something I've struggled with for years and kept it a secret from my friends. If you are reading this and you are struggling with depression or anxiety, you know you're not alone.
"I am thrilled to be able to re-join my coaches and teammates. I am grateful to the Eagles community. I look forward to playing in front of some of the most passionate fans in the world.
Johnson, 31, was unexpectedly inactive prior to the Eagles' Oct. 3, game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Jack Driscoll was informed by Johnson's replacement that he would be starting just hours before kickoff.
According to the team, Johnson was dealing with a personal issue.
Johnson has spoken out about anxiety related to football in the past. Right-guard for the Eagles, Brandon Brooks has been a close friend of Johnson's and has missed many games due to anxiety-related illness. Johnson and Brooks shared the experience of often vomiting together pregame. They then text each other to laugh about it.
"We are all human. Johnson stated that we are not monsters during the Eagles' Super Bowl run of 2017. Johnson said, "I believe I heard it at a combine: 50% of men have experienced anxiety and depression. It is not uncommon. It's something that isn't talked about. It can be stigmatized as something that is considered a weakness. It's a stigma that many people have.
Johnson was absent for three games. Driscoll took over against the Chiefs, before Jordan Mailata, left tackle, was moved to the right against the Carolina Panthers. While his teammates wished Johnson well, Johnson's private matter was kept secret by them.
"A lot of love and affection for Lane. Jalen Hurts, quarterback, said that he is praying for Lane. "He is in my heart, for certain."