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‘Don’t feel sorry for me’: Home damaged by Irma, Jimmy Johnson skips Fox’s pregame show

Jimmy Johnson won’t be appearing with the usual crew on Fox’s “NFL Sunday” because he’s working on his Florida Keys home, which was heavily damaged by Hurricane Irma.

Johnson, who loves his life in the Keys almost as much as Jimmy Buffett loves Parrotheads, tearfully took Dave Hyde of the Sun Sentinel on a tour of the damage to the Tavernier, Fla., home he shares with his wife, Rhonda, last week. There was six feet of sand in the pool. A tiki hut will require a crane to be relocated to its former position. The saltwater pond has been destroyed. Johnson says, “It took 20 years getting this place just how we dreamed it and for it all to be gone in a day … .”

Irma was the great leveler, striking those of means as well as those without so much. And Johnson makes it clear that he is not a hardship case. The worst of the damage begins about 14 miles south of his home.

“Don’t feel sorry for me,” Johnson told Hyde. “I can rebuild. I have the money. I feel bad for people who lost their house and don’t know what to do. Those are the ones to feel sorry for, the ones who need help right now.”

Still, it’s crushing for the 74-year-old former coach, who was in Los Angeles for the Sunday pregame show last week when Irma struck. Johnson isn’t going anywhere, though. He’s been here with Rhonda, serving up pizza to first responders in his Big Chill restaurant. The Keys, where he can take his boat out for fishing every day, is his happy place.

It still is. It just needs a lot of work.

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