For the first time since being diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer in his spine, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson answered questions about his condition this afternoon at the NovaCare Complex.
After coaching the Eagles' defense from a motorized red scooter as the team went through its second day of workouts at this post-draft camp, Johnson talked about his battle with cancer without ever mentioning the word.
"I feel good," Johnson said. "I appreciate all the concern about my injury from the fans and (media). I'm still going through treatment. The biggest thing I'm trying to get now is just the pain out of my back. I've got some broken bones in the lower part, so it allows me to not be on my feet quite as much. Everything else I feel fine and I just keep working at it."
Johnson has lost a substantial amount of weight, but his passion for football was still intact and he remains the commander of all defensive decisions for coach Andy Reid's football team.
"It's great," the 67-year-old coach said when asked about being back on the field coaching. "It's part of my life. It keeps me going. I don't feel any different coaching. I'm coaching the same way. We've got a great bunch of assistants. The thing I always said about Andy is that one of his strong points is he picks good assistants. He has good, young guys. It's a relief to have a good, young staff like that."
Johnson said he realized something was wrong during the Eagles' playoff run last season.
"I didn't really know until the last couple of games," he said. "I wasn't feeling good and we were right in the playoffs, so I didn't have time to take a lot of tests, but we did know something was up right after the Giants' (playoff) game. Then of course I got all my tests and that."
The tests showed an aggressive return of melanoma, a condition he was first diagnosed with in 2001.
"It's something you have to deal with every day," Johnson said. "Like I said, I'm still going through the treatment and hoping we're going to get it done. Sure it affects your life. You think about it every day, no question as far as the pain. The thing about it is when I come to work, it feels good. Hopefully we get that injured back taken care of so I'm walking back on the field, but right now I'm on that cart and it helps out quite a bit."