CINCINNATI — It’s been a tumultuous summer and fall for Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still.
He found out in June his 4-year-old daughter Leah has Stage 4 neuroblastoma, a rare pediatric cancer. The team allowed him to miss organized team activities and minicamp to tend to her needs, but when it came time for final roster cuts, the team had to let him go.
However, the Bengals re-signed Still to the practice squad so he could maintain a salary and most important, the health benefits for Leah’s care.
The team then began selling Still game jerseys for $100, with all proceeds going to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and pediatric cancer care and research. The Bengals say they are close to selling 10,000 of the jerseys — for a total $1 million. New Orleans Saints coach Sean Peyton bought 100 of the jerseys.
Still later was promoted to the full squad. And this week, Leah underwent surgery. On the drive to the hospital, dad gave an inspirational pep talk to his daughter that he posted to his Instagram account.
Doctors say the tumor was removed completely, though Leah has more chemotherapy, radiation and stem cell transplants to go through.
But in a season marked by domestic violence and child abuse cases involving NFL players, the story of Devon Still has been quite uplifting.