The Associated Press

Jim Johnson

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Jim Johnson, whose attacking defenses helped the Eagles to one Super Bowl appearance and five NFC title games, has died. He was 68.

Johnson had taken a leave of absence from the team in May as he continued to battle a cancerous tumor on his spine. The Eagles announced his death on Tuesday afternoon.

A veteran of 22 years as an NFL assistant, Johnson is regarded as one of the top defensive minds in the league, known for building units able to pressure the quarterback from every angle.

His defenses consistently ranked among the best in the league, including last season, when the Eagles finished third in total defense and fell one victory short of the Super Bowl.