November 7, 2014

Leah Still Watches Dad Play First NFL Game

CINCINNATI — The star of the Browns–Bengals game Thursday night was Leah Still, the courageous 4-year-old daughter of Cincinnati defensiveRead more →

September 11, 2014

Jersey of Bengals Player Whose Daughter Is Battlin …

Devon Still needed some good news. The Cincinnati Bengals rookie’s daughter, Leah, has been battling stage 4 cancer at theRead more →


Leah Still Watches Dad Play First NFL Game

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CINCINNATI — The star of the BrownsBengals game Thursday night was Leah Still, the courageous 4-year-old daughter of Cincinnati defensive tackle Devon Still.

Fans at Paul Brown Stadium roared between the first and second quarters as the Bengals honored Leah, who’s battling Stage 4 pediatric cancer.

The Bengals announced a $1.3 million donation to Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Leah’s name, and the giant video screen played a montage of Leah and Devon set to the song “Brave” by Sara Bareilles.

[+] EnlargeLeah Still

Andrew Weber/USA TODAY SportsLeah Still watched her father, Devon, play for the first time live since he debuted in the NFL in 2012.

The Browns won the game 24-3, and Devon had three total tackles.

“I would describe it as an emotional roller coaster,” he said afterward. “Seeing my daughter in the pregame with all the excitement and then seeing her on the field receiving the check and just seeing the joy in her face, I was just so proud of the perseverance she showed to raise that money.”

Leah’s story has touched millions through social media. She wore a bedazzled Still jersey and a pink-flowered headband while flanked by family members in a suite pregame.

On a night filled with touching moments, Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer made a point to embrace Devon Still during the ceremony.

“Being a parent myself, I couldn’t imagine what he’s going through, especially how demanding this job is,” Hoyer told NFL Network after the game when asked what he told Still. “That gives you goose bumps. I just went over and told him I respect him and I pray for his daughter and him and hope everything gets better.”

After the ceremony, Leah’s grandmother carried her off the field and through the tunnel, where she was emotional.

“Because everybody loves you,” the grandmother was overheard saying to Leah, minutes after chants of “Leah, Leah” trumpeted through parts of the stadium.

“Seeing her picture on the scoreboard made me emotional, but somehow I was able to play the game,” Devon Still said. “The most emotional I got was when I looked up and saw her and Lauren Hill and saw they got a chance to meet.”

A member of the family said of Leah as the group was walking toward the elevators and back to the suite: “She’s taking it all in. She’s been really into it.”

Fans, TV producers and even local police donned a No. 75 patch or jersey in honor of Still. Devon Still wrote “Leah Strong” on his eye black strips.

Leah took a selfie with the Bengals cheerleaders in pregame:

She watched her father play live for the first time since he debuted in the NFL in 2012 as a second-round pick of the Bengals.

Leah is battling neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer that typically has a 50-50 chance for survival. Surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from her abdomen was considered successful, but rounds of radiation, chemotherapy and stem-cell treatments await her before doctors can determine whether she’s cancer-free. Browns reporter Coley Harvey and The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Jersey of Bengals Player Whose Daughter Is Battling Cancer Becomes Fastest Seller

WCPO Devon Still and daughter Leah_1401905649321_5942107_ver1.0_640_480

Devon Still needed some good news. The Cincinnati Bengals rookie’s daughter, Leah, has been battling stage 4 cancer at the same time he was battling to make the team. Last week Still was cut, but when the organization learned of his situation, they signed him back to the practice squad. He was on the team, sort of. The practice squad allows him to practice with the players but doesn’t allow him to dress for game days, meaning that he would never actually play in a game unless he was on the active roster.

It didn’t matter to Still, though. Being signed to the team meant that he would earn some $6,300 a week. Plus—and most important—he would receive much-needed health insurance for his daughter, who, ESPN notes, has been given a 50-50 chance of surviving.

“I wanted to make the roster, but I have a lot of stuff going on right now that I can’t give football 100 percent,” Still said to reporters last week. “[The team] could have just washed their hands completely of it. Said, ‘We don’t care what’s going on in his personal life, we just want people who can care 100 percent on football.’ That’s, after all, what they pay us to do.”


Devon Still and daughter LeahTwitter

Word of Still’s situation and the Bengals’ kindness spread. On Monday the Bengals announced that all sales of Still’s No. 75 jersey would go to pediatric-cancer research, and less than 24 hours later, ESPN reported that it was the Bengals’ fastest-selling jersey in team history.

But that is not all. The Bengals have also solidified their commitment to the rookie: It was announced Tuesday that Still has been signed to the active 53-man roster.

“We have an open roster spot, and this is the best football move we can make to fill it,” coach Marvin Lewis said in a statement viewed by ESPN. “We think Devon is ready to rejoin our line rotation and be productive. It already was stated that a big reason Devon opened on the practice squad was that he couldn’t fully focus on football this preseason. He had to take care of his daughter. But Devon has told us he feels ready to contribute now, so it’s the right move at the right time. And we’ve told Devon he can still be afforded the personal time he needs to attend to his daughter’s care.”


Posted: Sept. 10 2014 1:46 PM
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