Devin Still: All-Star Dad

 

Recently the NFL has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. While the domestic violence issues coming to light are important, Devin Still’s story is bringing sunshine to very cloudy NFL. I think it’s safe to say that the Tri-State area has a special place in Still’s heart. He was born in Camden, New Jersey and attended Pennsylvania State University for football. At PSU, he was recognized as an outstanding defensive tackle and was drafted by The Cincinnati Bengals in the 2nd round of the 2012 draft.

 

In August 2014, Still’s NFL career was cut short after only two seasons with the Bengals. The next day the Cincinnati Bengals Organization signed Still to the practice squad for one very important reason – to keep his daughter alive.

 

In June of this year, Leah, Still’s daughter, was diagnosed with a rare cancer called neuroblastoma. The Still family was also told that she was in stage four and doctors gave a 50% chance of survival for 4-year-old Leah. Once Still got cut, the team realized he would no longer have health insurance for his family. Now, Still has been promoted to the active roster where he is participating in each game. The Bengals also decided that 100% of the proceeds made by the sale of Still’s jersey will go the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and also pediatric cancer research. The jersey is available online here, but hurry fast because the jersey has been out of stock quite often. By September 12th the jersey had accumulated proceeds of over $400,000. 

On September 25th, Leah underwent a 5 hour and 50 minute surgery at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Still tweeted that the surgery was successful and the doctors were able to remove all of the malignant tumors in her brain. Prior to the surgery, Still took Leah to Linvilla Orchards to lift her spirits – somewhere SJU students often go to. Chip Kelly, head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, along with the team, sent flowers and care baskets to Leah. The Eagles won’t play the Bengals this year, but it was simply a wonderful gesture made from one NFL employee to another.

It is important to understand that while players, such as Ray Rice, are trying to find any way to get back on the field, Still is fighting to stay on it for his daughter. Although the NFL does need to be strict about domestic violence, it is crucial to understand that not all professional football players are violent. Please consider donating to Stand Up To Cancer and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation!

HCXO,

Marissa