Dawkins laments Jim Johnson's death

July 29, 2009 at 10:44 PM

DENVER, July 29 (UPI) -- Hard-hitting strong safety Brian Dawkins of Denver is stunned by the death of Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jim Johnson.

The 6-foot, 210-pound Dawkins played in Johnson's defensive schemes with the Eagles from 1999-2008. He signed a free-agent deal with the Broncos in February after the Eagles failed to re-sign him.

"This is a sad, sad day for myself and my Philadelphia family," he said Tuesday on Denver's Web site. "Jim was a tough coach who wasn't afraid to let you know how he was feeling, but at the same time, he cared about us deeply. He was an absolute blessing to me with the way he used me on the football field and allowed me to show my God-given ability. His confidence in me meant so much."

Johnson, 68, died Tuesday of melanoma skin cancer shortly after he had taken a leave of absence.

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