Sportress of Blogitude

Devon Still on making Bengals: I’ve had ‘wait through worse stuff than this’


Given the trials and tribulations, ups and downs, heartache and joy Devon Still has gone through over the past year, any stress he’s experiencing related to whether or not he makes the Cincinnati Bengals this season is more than manageable.

The defensive lineman understands he’s not assured a roster spot with the Bengals this season, but when compared to the emotional roller coaster he navigated while watching now-five-year-old daughter Leah undergo a litany of treatments after a diagnosis of Stage 4 neuroblastoma last spring, his uncertain NFL future easily is put in its proper perspective.

“If I didn’t go through what I went through last year,” Still said Thursday night, via, “I’d have a tough time. I’ve had to sit and wait through worse stuff than this.”

Still, 26, understands he was the benefactor of tremendous generosity from the Bengals last season when the team kept him on the practice squad after cutting him so he could maintain Leah’s health insurance. The team continued to support Still and his daughter in myriad ways once he later cracked the team’s 53-man roster.

“Last year I kind of knew what was going to happen because I wasn’t all the way into football [mentally],” Still said. “This year, I was able to focus more, I was able to go out there and play. It’s up in the air about what’s going to happen right now.”

But Still understands that he’s been blessed with how his brave little girl battled her disease with such grace and dignity and became an inspiration to millions.

Better yet, despite doctors only giving her a 50-50 chance of survival at the time of her diagnosis, Still indicated in March that Leah’s cancer is in remission.

Whether or not he makes the Bengals after Sunday’s cut-down day is nothing when compared to having his daughter on the road to recovery.

“Hopefully the coaches like what I’ve done and I make the ballclub,” he said. “If not, hopefully I’ve got a chance to make it somewhere else.”