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As fibs go, it wasn’t like making up a dead girlfriend with cancer who got into a car accident. But it was strange.
During his introductory press conference on Friday at the NovaCare Complex, Lane Johnson -- an offensive lineman from Oklahoma whom the Eagles took with the fourth overall pick –- talked at length about his Bear Tale. Maybe you’ve read about it before (see story). Johnson, who’s from East Texas, claimed to have wrestled black bears (which top out at around 300 pounds) and explained how the game warden introduced them to the area near his uncle’s ranch.
Yeah, so about that: he made it up.
Not long after Johnson made those remarks, an Eagles PR handler marched the offensive tackle into the media room to inform reporters that the story was untrue.
“I just thought it would be a good joke,” Johnson said. “People may think we do that down in Texas, but it wasn’t, and I’m sorry if I led you all the wrong way.”
But what about the detail he went into about the game warden?
“They are introducing some black bears in the East Texas area, and that just came to mind when I was speaking to ya’ll to make it more believable,” Johnson said.
Johnson has been going with various versions of the story for a little while. In one pre-draft interview, he said he “manhandled bears” that were “tearing up garbage and stuff” in order to “get them out of the way.”
“I just thought I’d add a little bit more taste to the supper,” Johnson said.
The Eagles deleted Johnson’s bear comments from the official press conference transcript.
After his confession, one reporter noted that Johnson’s father-in-law said he wrestled hogs. “Is that bull---- too?” the journalist asked.
“No, that’s not bull----,” Johnson said. “That’s not bull----.”
So you won all those hog battles?
“Oh yeah,” Johnson insisted. “I haven’t been cut up yet.”