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News » Philadelphia Eagles Inside Slant 2009-02-13


Philadelphia Eagles Inside Slant 2009-02-13


Philadelphia Eagles Inside Slant 2009-02-13
When the Eagles coaching staff made the long trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl, defensive coordinator Jim Johnson was nowhere to be found.


Johnson, whose defense was a big reason the Eagles made it to their fifth NFC Championship Game in 8 years, is battling cancer.

The 67-year-old Johnson had been dealing with agonizing pain in his lower back late in the season that forced him to spend his team's final two playoff games up in the coaches' box rather than his usual spot down on the field. Tests discovered a cancerous tumor on his spine. He began radiation treatments immediately after the Eagles' 32-25 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game.

"The main deal is in his back right now," Eagles trainer Rick Burkholder said. "He's got a bone tumor down in his lower back, and that's what we have to attack right now."

Burkholder said there is cancer in some other areas of Johnson's body, "but I'm not going to get into where else some other stuff is. They will all be treated together."

Burkholder admitted there is concern about the cancer spreading.

It's unlikely that Johnson will make the trip to Indianapolis next week for the league scouting combine.

Johnson's talented young unit was one of just three defensive units in the league this season to finish in the top five in total defense, run defense, pass defense and scoring defense. Pittsburgh and Baltimore were the other two.

"This is crazy," said cornerback Sheldon Brown. "But Jim's a fighter. He's been a part of my success during my seven years here. This shows the reality of life. You can't take anything for granted, and you have to enjoy every day."



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: February 13, 2009

Lito Sheppard Name: Lito Sheppard
#26
Position: CB
Age: 27
Experience: 7 years
College: Florida
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