Johnson to take leave

Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson is taking a leave of absence as he undergoes another round of chemotherapy to combat a metastasized tumor in his spine, according to a report on espn.com.

A message left with the team was not returned as of this posting.

The 68-year-old Johnson, who was diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer in January, will miss this week's rookie minicamp and presumably the upcoming Organized Team Activities -- or OTAs. Johnson was present at the post-draft minicamp a few weeks ago, but was restricted to a motorized cart during practices.

Linebackers coach Sean McDermott will run the defense in Johnson's absence, according to the report.

Read tomorrow's Inquirer for more on this story.

UPDATE: Here's the statement from the Eagles:

The Philadelphia Eagles today announced defensive coordinator Jim Johnson has been granted a leave of absence for an indefinite period of time due to his continued treatments for cancer. Secondary coach Sean McDermott will coach the defense in the interim.

"Jim and I agreed that he needs to concentrate all of his efforts on his recovery," said head coach Andy Reid. "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."

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