Monday, May 18, 2009

Jim Johnson To Take Leave Of Absence

Some sad news to report today from the Eagles' coaching staff. If you'll remember, back in January, I had a story about how Eagles Defensive coordinator, Jim Johnson was diagnosed once again with cancer, well today he has decided to take a leave of absence to undergo treatment and to focus on his recover and rehabilitation. From CSN

Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, who is undergoing treatment for skin cancer, has taken a leave of absence for an indefinite period of time.

Secondary coach Sean McDermott will fill in for Johnson. The Eagles begin a two-day rookie minicamp on Wednesday.

"Jim and I agreed that he needs to concentrate all of his efforts on his recovery,” head coach Andy Reid said in a statement released by the team “His health is number one. He’s struggling, but he’s a tough guy and a true battler. I hope everyone will keep him in their thoughts and prayers during this period of time. We hope to have him back with the team as soon as possible.”

Johnson, who turns 68 next Tuesday, was first diagnosed with melanoma in his back in 2001. This January, nearly two weeks after the Eagles lost to Arizona in the NFC Championship, the team announced that he had experienced a recurrence because a tumor had developed in his spine.

The pain forced Johnson to coach the Eagles’ final two playoff games from the press box. Although he was on the field earlier this month during minicamp, the usually vigorous Johnson clearly was affected by the disease.

Because of broken bones in his back, he traversed the fields on a scooter and used a cane to walk. On May 2, in his first press conference since the team disclosed his condition, the toll the treatments were taking was apparent in his voice and countenance. He also had lost weight.

Still, Johnson explained how coaching was perhaps as important as chemotherapy.

“It’s great. It’s a part of my life, and it keeps me going,” said Johnson, who hoped to ditch the scooter as soon as possible.

“It’s not going to be like this all the time – hopefully we’ll get that injury back so I’m walking back on the field.”
That's just sad. As much grief as I give Andy Reid, on the absolute other side of the coin, Jim Johnson is nothing but a pure defensive genius and is without a doubt, one of, if not the, best defensive coordinator in the NFL. Here's hoping that he will indeed be all right and can make a full recovery!


  1. I'm also hoping for a fast, full recovery for Jim Johnson. Great post.


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