Today in Philly Sports History: Jim Johnson Hired as Eagles Defensive Coordinator, 1999

Today in Philly Sports History: Jim Johnson Hired as Eagles Defensive Coordinator, 1999

The two people who would come to define Philly football over the next decade in the NFL, Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb, both debuted with the Eagles in the 1999 season. But a third and arguably almost as influential figure also introduced himself to the City of Brotherly Love that season--57-year-old Jim Johnson, brought in to be the architect of Reid's defense. Johnson would go on to captain the Birds' blitz and pressure-heavy defense for the whole next decade, transforming it into one of the league's more fearsome units.

Johnson had made his bones earlier in the decade as a defensive line coach for the Cardinals and then later the linebackers coach for the Colts and Seahawks. His impressive resume on D made him an ideal choice to be Andy Reid's right hand man, with Reid more focused on the offensive side of the ball. "I've said many times, Jim Johnson is the best in the business at what he does," Reid has said. "His defensive units continue to produce at a very high level as he puts a lot of pressure on opposing offenses." The list of Eagles who broke out under Johnson's guiding hand includes Troy Vincent, Jeremiah Trotter, Lito Sheppard and Trent Cole, and all in all, 26 Pro Bowl nods were racked up by Eagles defenders during his tenure.

That tenure, of course, was tragically cut short in July of last year, when Jim Johnson passed away after a half-year struggle with cancer. Johnson was able to properly hand the defense's reins over to Sean McDermott before his passing, but the team couldn't possibly be quite the same without him. It's a question that I'm sure more than a few of us have pondered: would Jim Johnson have let his unit allow the Cowboys to put points on the board like that these last two weeks?

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

CHESTER, Pa. — On the eve of his comeback after missing nearly 13 months with a left tibia stress fracture and other related injuries, Union midfielder Maurice Edu fractured his left fibula on Saturday, keeping him out for the 2016 playoffs and beyond.

“I was trying to take the shot on goal and my foot got stuck in the turf,” Edu said Sunday, in his blue Union-issued suit and supported by crutches. “My ankle rolled and twisted and it kind of snapped a little bit. I heard it crack, and a lot of pain from there. I got a scan afterward, and there was a break.”

There's no timetable his return.

Edu, 30, has spent over a calendar year fighting various injuries that have kept him out of game action. His trouble began on Sept. 30, 2015, when he played through the U.S. Open Cup final with a partially torn groin and sports hernia. It was during Edu’s recovery from those injuries that he developed a stress fracture.

"A little bit frustration. A lot of frustration, to be honest," he said. "But all I can do now is get back to work, focus on the positives and make sure that my situation isn’t a distraction from the team."

Edu’s teammates were equally devastated by the news. Edu, the Union captain when healthy, is popular and well-respected in the locker room.

"I feel so bad for him," said Alejandro Bedoya, who wore a dedication to Edu under his jersey on Sunday. "He’s one of my good friends, so I was looking forward to playing alongside him. I know how hard he’s worked to get back, and to see him go out like that, it’s heartbreaking. I’m sad for his loss and I hope he stays strong."

Edu, who has been with the Union since 2014, returned to training in July and played three conditioning appearances with the Union’s USL team, Bethlehem Steel FC. He was on the bench for the Union’s last three games and was set to make his first appearance in over a year against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, a game the Union eventually lost, 2-0 (see game story).

"We’re gutted for Mo," Union manager Jim Curtin said. "He was slated to start today. It’s real upsetting because he’s worked so hard to get back on the field. It’s been a tough 2016 for him, but I know he’ll come back stronger."

While he was visibly shaken by recent injury, Edu is driven to return.

"What happened, happened," Edu said. "I have no control over that. The only thing I do have control over is my next steps from here, how I prepare myself mentally and emotionally and how I continue to support this group."

Watch: Malcolm Jenkins saves Jon Dorenbos, who can't work his magic with bow tie

Watch: Malcolm Jenkins saves Jon Dorenbos, who can't work his magic with bow tie

The magician himself needed help on this one.

His bow tie.

Hey, this is what teammates are for, right?

On Monday night, Eagles longsnapper and NBC's America's Got Talent star Jon Dorenbos emceed safety Malcolm Jenkins' third annual Blitz, Bow Ties and Bourbon charity event, which raises money for Philadelphia's youth and underserved communities.

Dorenbos, quite the wizard with his hands and card tricks, couldn't solve the bow tie.

“I had no clue,” Dorenbos said in an interview with CSN's John Clark. "In fact, this is the first bow tie I’ve ever worn.”

Jenkins had his back. Watch the Eagles' leader go to work and save Dorenbos in the video above.