Thursday, February 11, 2016

Fans, coaches mourn Johnson

The Eagles held practice as scheduled this morning at Lehigh, but it was not business as usual.

Fans, coaches mourn Johnson


The Eagles held practice as scheduled this morning at Lehigh, but it was not business as usual.

Jim Johnson was on everyone's minds.

Fans who want to watch practice have to walk up a path to get to the bleachers. A memorial for Johnson sprang up on the grass on the way to the fields. Members of the field staff here at Lehigh were asked by fans early this morning where they could put flowers and teddy bears to honor Johnson, so they decided to paint a black and white "JJ" on the lawn.

Fans gathered by the impromptu memorial with signs and candles.

We caught up with a couple of them and will post the video shortly.

One woman, Gail Guerrero of Center Valley, got emotional while talking to us. A training camp regular, she had met Johnson several times, and he was one of her favorites.

Meanwhile, Marty Mornhinweg and Sean McDermott spoke to the media. The beat guys will have you covered, but here are some highlights:

** Mornhinweg said he never had to coach against Johnson, and he was glad he didn't.

** He said Johnson was on everyone's mind this morning at practice, and that will continue for a long time.

** McDermott said he was going into a meeting when he heard the news yesterday, and when he got out, he had messages from several members of Johnson's coaching tree like John Harbaugh and Steve Spagnuolo. In McDermott's words, everyone checking on each other to make sure they were OK.

** McDermott said he remembers sitting in the locker room with Johnson, their heads in their hands after the loss to the Cardinals in the NFC championship, and now wishing Johnson would have gotten to call one more game.

** He said it's an honor to follow Johnson, and McDermott told Johnson's family he'll try to honor them with the way the Eagles' defense plays this season.

** McDermott said God needed a defensive coordinator in heaven, and Johnson will have a great view watching all his coaching sons from the sky.
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About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at or by clicking here

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