Yesterday, the Philadelphia Eagles Franchise lost someone who held our Defense together for the past 10 years.
Jim Johnson died from cancer yesterday at the age of 68 at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania after fighting Melanoma since he was first diagnosed back in 2001. This year was the worst for Johnson. In January right after the Eagles lost the NFC championship game to the Cardinals, the team announced a tumor in his spine.
Johnson was a tough guy even though his back pain forced him to coach the Eagles’ final two playoff games from the press box this year. Everyone could clearly see it affected him but he stayed strong. Because he had broken bones in his back he always traveled by scooter on the field. When asked about his condition he refereed to it as an "injury".
Johnson was named defensive coordinator in January 1999, just 11 days after Andy Reid was hired as head coach. Johnson impressed Reid after meeting him in the Pro Bowl and his performance in the 1997 season put him at the top of his list when he beat Reid’s Packers, then 8-2, in Indianapolis to the 0-10 Colts – and lost 41-38. Johnson’s Colts recorded three sacks and three turnovers. that is really impressive!
Johnson was an amazing coach and led the Eagles defense to become second in the league in sacks (390), tackles for loss (tied at 457), forced fumbles (159), red-zone touchdown efficiency (43.9 percent) and third-down efficiency (34.0 percent). Johnson's goal was to only allow 17 points allowed per game and he accomplished this with only allowing an average of 17.7 points a game which is forth fewest in the NFL!!!
This is truly a tragic event and Johnson will TRULY BE MISSED!!!
Some words by friends:
"The Andy Reid regime here that’s taken place wouldn’t have been possible without Jim"
"I loved Jim Johnson. This is a sad day for so many people who were touched by this great man. Jim was a tremendous teacher of football and life."
"It is a sad, very sad, day. ... He was an excellent, excellent defensive coach, and he trained others to be the same."
The new coach will be Sean McDermott. I hope everyone will pray for Jim Johnson. The pearly gates above have truly been blitz with a man that has done so much!