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Birds Add Assistant?

A Dallas blog says the Eagles will be hiring Brian Stewart, former Cowboys defensive coordinator, to help with the defense, presumably to oversee the secondary as Sean McDermott fills in for Jim Johnson.

The immediate thought following the report by Dallas' WFAA-TV blog about the Eagles hiring former Cowboys defensive coordinator Brian Stewart as a defensive assistant is that this is more bad news about Jim Johnson's situation. A source close to the situation has confirmed the Dallas blog report, and said that the hiring will be announced next week.

Presumably, Stewart is going to take over the secondary, which Sean McDermott has been trying to run while also filling Johnson's role as defensive coordinator. Johnson has taken an indefinite leave of absence to fight metastasized melanoma.

If the Eagles felt Johnson was close to returning, they wouldn't feel the need to add to the staff; McDermott's helper in the secondary, longtime NFL corner Otis Smith, ran the d-backs last week in rookie camp. The additional hiring, assuming it is true, seems to confirm what has been feared -- that Johnson might not be able to resume his duties this season, if at all. blogger Matt Mosley points out that Stewart, who lost his job in the fallout from the Cowboys' season-ending 44-6 loss to the host Eagles, has a longstanding connection to Eagles coach Andy Reid.

Mosley writes that Reid and Stewart "have remained close since they were at Northern Arizona together in the mid-1980s. Reid coached the offensive line and Stewart played cornerback. Both men grew up in Los Angeles and spent time at junior colleges in the area."