Obviously, it wasn't good news Monday that Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson will take a leave of absence for a second round of chemotherapy to treat metastasized melanoma. Oncologists contacted by The Daily News indicated that Johnson's cancer -- which the team has acknowledged is present outside the site of the tumor on his spine -- likely is starting to fully manifest itself in other areas. One oncologist said melanoma is particularly difficult to treat with chemotherapy.
The oncologists the Daily News spoke to, who are not involved in treating Johnson, said that in general, a melanoma patient's response to chemotherapy declines with each round of treatment. The Eagles, who confirmed an ESPN.com report by Sal Paolantonio about the leave, did not set a timetable for Johnson's return.
Johnson coached the spring's first OTA,or minicamp, from a motorized wheelchair. He will not participate in the rookie OTA coming up Wednesday and Thursday, the team said. Secondary coach Sean McDermott, widely presumed to be Johnson's successor someday, will run the defense in Johnson's absence.
"Jim and I agreed that he needs to concentrate all of his efforts on his recovery,” coach Andy Reid said in a statement. “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.”