He says that supplements are "totally out" of his regimen now after being hit with a 10-game suspension last season for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs a second time. He believes the positive test last year was the result of taking an amino acid he purchased online that was contaminated. One more positive test, and he'd face a two-year league ban, so he's doing things the old-fashioned way now to ensure there are no "mishaps."
"The deal with supplements is it’s supposed to supplement your diet, but if you get everything in your diet [that you need], you don’t have to do it," said Johnson.
Fried food and sweets had to be largely cut out as well. Instead it's chicken, beef, fish and potatoes, and plenty of vegetables like kale and spinach. Johnson explained that one of the reasons NFL athletes take certain supplements is to help fight against inflammation to protect their joints "because the season is so long." He plans on relying on good nutrition to keep his body feeling its best throughout the 16-game regular season and potentially beyond. While it's to be determined exactly how that goes, he's pleased with the early results: Johnson says he is as heavy he's ever been at 325 pounds, and feeling stronger than ever.
The 27-year-old Oklahoma product was one of six players mentioned by Doug Pederson last week when the coach was asked who stood out during OTAs. He's been working at left tackle in place of Jason Peters, who has stayed away from these voluntary practices. The expectation is that Peters will return for this week's mandatory minicamp (June 13-15), meaning Johnson will go back to his normal station on the right side.
The idea is to shift Johnson to Carson Wentz's blind side when the 35-year-old Peters calls it a career or moves on.
“I’d say I’m a top-10 tackle in the league, right or left," said Johnson. "I’m not trying to be arrogant or anything, but if you go watch the film, whenever I’m playing … my deal is just stay on the field.”
Availability has been the one major issue in a young career that has shown plenty of promise. His suspension in 2016 proved to be an absolute crusher for an Eagles team operating with a rookie quarterback and a first-year head coach at the helm. They were 5-1 when Johnson was in the lineup and 2-8 during his time away. To suggest those records were solely tied to Johnson's presence would be oversimplifying things, but it was a significant factor.
Back in the mix, Johnson is bullish on the Eagles this season.
"This is the best I've seen the team look since I've been here. Not talking out of my ass. I feel like we're in a good spot," he said.
Whether that holds true depends in large part of Johnson holding up his end of the bargain.
“I’m just going to go out there and go show people what kind of tackle I am," he said. "I think I’m one of the best in the league. Go out there and do a lot less talking and just show people what I can do.”