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Honoring The Late Jim Johnson

Rep. Stephen F. Lynch

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Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution (H. Res. 693) honoring the life and accomplishments of Jim Johnson and extending the condolences of the House of Representatives to his family on the occasion of his death.

The Clerk read the title of the resolution.

The text of the resolution is as follows:

Whereas the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the NFL lost one of our greatest treasures yesterday; Whereas Philadelphia Eagles Defensive Coordinator Jim Johnson passed away on July 28, 2009, after a courageous battle with cancer; Whereas he was a veteran of 22 years as an NFL assistant; Whereas Johnson is regarded as one of the top defensive masterminds in NFL history; Whereas over the last decade, he gained a great deal of praise as the orchestrator of the renowned Eagles defense; Whereas his aggressive style kept Philadelphia at or near the top of the NFL in nearly every major defensive category since he joined the Eagles staff on January 22, 1999; Whereas from 2000-08, Johnson's units ranked second in the NFL in sacks (390), 3rd down efficiency (34.0 percent) and red zone touchdown percentage (43.9 percent), and fourth in fewest points allowed (17.7 per game); Whereas during his 10-year tenure in Philadelphia, the Eagles earned 7 playoff berths, 5 trips to the NFC Championship game, and 1 Super Bowl appearance (following the 2004 season); Whereas as the Eagles' defensive chief, Johnson's defense has produced 26 Pro Bowl selections, including Brian Dawkins (7), Troy Vincent (5), Jeremiah Trotter (4), Hugh Douglas (3), Lito Sheppard (2), Asante Samuel (1), Trent Cole (1), Michael Lewis (1), Corey Simon (1), and Bobby Taylor (1); Whereas Head Coach Andy Reid correctly stated that ``He (Johnson) really represented everything this city (Philadelphia) is all about, with his toughness and grit'', ``That's the way he fought this cancer''; Whereas 4 of his defensive assistants have gone on to successful careers with other NFL franchises, including Steve Spagnuolo (head coach of the St. Louis Rams), John Harbaugh (head coach of the Baltimore Ravens), Ron Rivera (defensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers), and Leslie Frazier (defensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings); Whereas prior to his tenure in Philadelphia, Johnson served as the linebackers coach with Seattle in 1998; Whereas that year, Johnson helped the Seahawks register 10 touchdowns on defense, including 8 interceptions returned for scores, second-most in NFL history; Whereas he arrived in Seattle after a 4-year stint in Indianapolis, spending the last 2 years as defensive coordinator; Whereas while with the Colts, Johnson helped them secure a berth in the AFC Championship game at Pittsburgh in 1995; Whereas Johnson spent 8 seasons with the Arizona Cardinals

Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Lynch) and the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Turner) each will control 20 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Massachusetts.

Rep. Stephen F. Lynch

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Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks on H. Res. 693.

Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Massachusetts?

There was no objection.

Rep. Stephen F. Lynch

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Mr. Speaker, at this time I would like to yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Brady).

Mr. Speaker, I rise to honor a man who will always be known as a great Philadelphian and a great American. Eagles Coach Jimmy Johnson was a man of few words. He always let his game do his talking for him. He was a star quarterback at Missouri and began his coaching career at Missouri Southern. Jim Johnson spent nearly 50 years in football. He coached in the USFL, for the Arizona Cardinals and for the Indianapolis Colts. But he earned the title Genius during 10 seasons coaching in my hometown of Philadelphia.

The Eagles led the league with 48 takeaways, including 28 interceptions, during Mr. Johnson's first season as defensive coordinator. By 2001, when the Eagles went to their first of four straight NFC championship games, the defense was ranked among the best in the NFL in almost every category. And they remain an elite unit today. In Coach Johnson's final season, the team had the NFC's top-ranked defense and earned yet another trip to the NFC title game.

The Eagles' defense had 26 Pro Bowl selections during Mr. Johnson's tenure, including seven by safety Brian Dawkins. The team played in five NFC championship games and one Super Bowl, and won five NFC East titles.

And his greatest legacy hasn't yet been written. Coach has seeded the league with his disciples. Many of his former assistants are coaching across the country, including Steve Spagnuolo, the head coach of the St. Louis Rams, and John Harbaugh, head coach of the Baltimore Ravens. Coach Johnson could have been a head coach anytime, anyplace, anywhere, but his loyalty was with the Philadelphia Eagles.

But the greatest thing about Jim Johnson has nothing to do with the football field. He was known by everyone as the picture of honesty and as a man who never sought the spotlight but one who gave generously of his time and his talents.

Mr. Speaker, Jim Johnson is survived by his wife, Vicky, two children, Scott and Michelle, and four grandchildren, Katie, Justin, Brandon and Jax. He leaves behind grieving friends, players, colleagues and fans. But our memories of him will live forever.

I ask my colleagues to support this resolution.

Rep. Michael R. Turner

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Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise in support of H. Res. 693, honoring the life and accomplishments of Jim Johnson and expressing condolences to his family on his death. Today we honor Jim Johnson for his life accomplishments and for his positive attitude he exhibited, even as he battled with cancer.

Mr. Johnson began his coaching career as head coach at Missouri Southern University. He went on to coach at Notre Dame, winning the national championship in his first year with the university. He entered the NFL in 1986 with the Arizona Cardinals and coached for 22 years for the Cardinals, the Indianapolis Colts, the Seattle Seahawks and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Mr. Johnson's achievements in life and his career are truly inspiring. He was one of the top defensive masterminds in NFL history. In fact, his aggressive style, noted for its frequent blitzing, kept Philadelphia at or near the top of the NFL in nearly every major defensive category since Mr. Johnson joined the Eagles staff in 1999. With Mr. Johnson at the helm of the defense, the Philadelphia Eagles appeared in five NFC championship games, including in 2004 when they advanced to the Super Bowl.

Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid stated:

``Johnson really represented everything the City of Philadelphia is all about, with his toughness and grit. That's the way he fought this cancer.''

It is clear that Mr. Johnson made a large impact on those around him on and off the field. Sadly, Mr. Johnson passed away from melanoma on July 28, 2009, at the age of 68. Though he has left this world, he will forever be remembered for his accomplishments.

I rise today to ask my colleagues to join me in honoring Mr. Johnson and expressing our condolences to his family in his passing by supporting H. Res. 693.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Stephen F. Lynch

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Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, I am proud to present House Resolution 693 for consideration. This resolution serves to honor the life and accomplishments of NFL coaching legend Jim Johnson, as well as extend our condolences to the Johnson family on his passing.

The measure before us was introduced on July 29, 2009, by my colleague who spoke earlier, Representative Bob Brady of Pennsylvania.

This measure was reported out of the Oversight Committee on September 4, 2009, by unanimous consent.

Additionally, House Resolution 693 has been cosponsored by over 50 Members of Congress and enjoys strong support from the members of the Pennsylvania House delegation.

Mr. Speaker, House Resolution 693 honors the life and accomplishments of Mr. Jim Johnson, whose celebrated football career spanned over 40 years at the collegiate level and with the National Football League.

A native of Maywood, Illinois, Coach Johnson began his career in football as a player--first as an All-Big Eight quarterback from 1959 to 1962 at the University of Missouri, under Coach Dan Devine, and subsequently as a tight end with the Buffalo Bills of the American Football League from 1963 to 1964.

In 1967, Mr. Johnson turned his attention to coaching and was hired by Missouri Southern College as the head football coach. Coach Johnson's 2-year tenure at the school was followed by 4-year tours at Drake University and at Indiana University, and ultimately led to a 6-year stint as a defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator at the University of Notre Dame. Notably, the Fighting Irish won the national championship in Coach Johnson's first season with the team.

After leaving Notre Dame in 1984, Coach Johnson went on to coaching positions with the Oklahoma Outlaws and Jackson Bulls of the United States Football League, and in 1986 entered the National Football League as a defensive line and secondary coach for the Arizona Cardinals.

Coach Johnson would later join the defensive coaching staffs of the Indianapolis Colts and the Seattle Seahawks before Philadelphia Eagles Coach Andy Reid pursued and hired Johnson to be the Eagles' defensive coordinator in 1999. It is Coach Johnson's 10-year period with the Eagles that perhaps most epitomizes his mastery of defensive schemes and cemented his status, as noted by Andy Reid, as the ``best in the business at what he does.''

Coach Johnson's tenure in Philadelphia witnessed 26 Pro Bowl selections for the Eagles' defense, including seven by safety Brian Dawkins and five by quarterback Troy Vincent.

As noted by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Coach Johnson's Eagles career will be remembered as ``one of the finest decades of defensive football in the Eagles' history, and when the chapter about the top of the 21st century is written about this football team, the name Jim Johnson will be mentioned prominently.''

In addition to his professional accomplishments, Coach Johnson will be equally remembered as a loving husband to his wife, Vicky; a dedicated father to his son, Scott, and daughter, Michelle; and an endearing grandfather to four grandchildren.

Regrettably, Coach Johnson passed away in July of 2009 at the age of 68. Mr. Speaker, it is my hope that we can honor the life and accomplishments of Coach Jim Johnson, as well as express our sincerest condolences to his family, through the passage of House Resolution 693. I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this resolution.

I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Michael R. Turner

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Mr. Speaker, I urge all Members to support the passage of House Resolution 693, and I yield back the balance of my time.

Rep. Stephen F. Lynch

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In closing, I urge my colleagues to join with the lead sponsor of this resolution, Bob Brady of Pennsylvania, in supporting House Resolution 693.

I yield back the balance of my time.

The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Lynch) that the House suspend the rules and agree to the resolution, H. Res. 693.

The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the rules were suspended and the resolution was agreed to.

A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.