Good News Philly: Jim Johnson's Health Is Improving

Written By Bob Cunningham On Friday, March 27, 2009
“(Johnson) is drastically better than he was (for) the championship game.”

That’s a quote from Andy Reid while talking to on some of the best news we’ve heard all offseason, and there hasn’t been much for Eagles’ fans.

Even with the loss of Brian Dawkins, Tra Thomas, and the likely loss of Jon Runyan, the one thing that has gone under the radar has been the heath of defensive coordinator Jim Johnson.

Well, after nearly two months of chemotherapy, he’s doing well. Apparently, he’s doing very well.

According to Reid and Lurie, he’s apparently able to move around without much pain, if any, and is always at the NovaCare complex working toward next season.

Johnson was diagnosed about three months ago with aggressive melanoma which has metastasized to his spine. This lead to incredible back pain for Johnson, forcing him to coach from the box during the playoffs and leaving Philly fans befuddled.

When this fan heard the news that Johnson’s back pain was from the cancer, I know I was heartbroken.

For all of the fuss that is put into the football side of things, like losing players, the money, and the rule changes, we sometimes forget what’s truly important.

This story showed the true side of Philly-nation. At least for a little while, all of the bickering was put aside.

The thoughts and prayers of Eagles’ fans went away from hoping Banner pulls the trigger on a deal for Anquan Boldin, to the welfare of a man who has become synonymous with toughness, grit, fortitude, but most importantly: Philadelphia.

Jim Johnson embodies everything that is Philadelphia. The character he displays on and off the field, and the courage in dealing with this very real disease is a testament to the will and resolve of the man.

While he’s not out of the woods yet, he’s at least beginning to carve a trail through the woods toward the exit. He needs to know that he has the entire city of Philadelphia in front and behind him helping to push him forward through this difficult time for him and his family.

On the football side, if for some reason Johnson could not go, secondary coach Sean McDermott is more than qualified to take over. However, Reid doesn’t see that happening.

"(Johnson) was always going to be my coordinator ... as long as he could do it," said Reid. "That was my feeling from the get-go, but I think it's important he knows that and that all the guys around him know that.

"Jim banks on Sean a lot. So maybe (his involvement with the game plan) happens a little bit more. He'll do whatever Jim can't do, but right now Jim can do everything."

Everyone in Philadelphia is rooting for you, J.J.

We look forward to seeing you on the sidelines leading our defense once again. You’re the best at what you do, and we’re glad you do it for us.

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