"It's like a blessing in disguise," says Still, whose 4-year-old, Leah, has neuroblastoma
It’s been a difficult few months for Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still. In June, doctors diagnosed his 4-year-old daughter, Leah, with a potentially fatal, rare form of cancer called neuroblastoma.
Earlier this week, Still, who skipped much of the team’s minicamp practices to be with his little girl, got cut from the Bengals’ roster, leaving the 25-year-old former All-American without a job or medical insurance.
“I completely understand where they were coming from,” Still said in an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer.
“I can’t give football 100 percent right now. In the business aspect they want guys to solely focus on football, which is understandable,” he said. “We are here to win this city a Super Bowl and right now I am not in a position where I can give football 100 percent of everything I have.”
Still soon realized that his dismissal was a “blessing in disguise,” according to an interview he gave ABC News.
Head coach Marvin Lewis later informed him that the team had decided to sign Still to their practice squad, ensuring that he has medical coverage for Leah’s cancer treatments, and a $6,300-per-week salary. The move also allows Still to spend more time with his daughter than he could if he remained on the team, because he won’t be traveling as much.
“They could have washed their hands with me and said they didn t care about what I was going through off the field,” Still said.
Last week, Still, who shaved his head in solidarity with his daughter, revealed on Instagram that Leah had begun another round of chemotherapy.
“Round 4 of chemo starts today,” he wrote. “Sending up a prayer that God allows my daughter to remain as strong as she has [for] her previous cycles and I ask that after this chemo the test shows that the tumor has shrunk to the point where it allows for an easy surgery to remove it.”