The Eagles lost what their owner described as a true gem on July 28, 2009 when defensive coordinator Jim Johnson died at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania after a bout with cancer that was first disclosed six months ago. Mr. Johnson was 68. There has been no finer coach or man than Jim Johnson, owner Jeffrey Lurie said. It doesn't get much sadder. Eagles coach Andy Reid and team president Joe Banner expressed their sadness during a news conference under a tent at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., where Mr. Johnson had often entertained questions about the team's ultra-aggressive defense. At this time, I do think it's important that we do think of the good times that Jim brought us as we go through the grieving process here, Reid said. Please remember all the positives that he brought to the Eagles and the city of Philadelphia.
Jim Johnson was not only a hero to the city of Philadelphia – he was equally courageous in his battle with melanoma – meeting each challenge with dignity and grace. It was a privilege to know and care for him. It is extremely important to his family that we work together to generate awareness and raise funds to support research that will lead to a cure for this disease; and we thank them for their generosity in establishing the Jim Johnson Melanoma Fund at Penn's Abramson Cancer Center.