If you pay attention to the NFL 365 days a year, you will probably hear the phrase “football is a business” anywhere between 50 to 10,000 times. Teams are constantly making cold-hearted decisions with the best interests of their business in mind, but there are always exceptions — even in football. Just ask Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still.
Still, a 2012 second-round pick out of Penn State, has not been able to focus enough time and energy on football throughout training camp and the preseason. That’s because his 4-year-old daughter Leah was diagnosed with Stage 4 pediatric cancer in June. As a result, the Bengals cut him.
[Previously: MLB player hits home run for cancer survivor]
However, releasing Still from their 53-man roster didn’t mean the Bengals were completely severing ties with the 25-year-old. In order to help him pay for his daughter’s treatments, the Bengals signed Still to their practice squad.
“I completely understand where the Bengals were coming from when they cut me because I couldn’t give football 100 percent right now,” Still told ABC 5 News earlier this week. They could have washed their hands with me and said they didn’t care about what I was going through off the field. It’s like a blessing in disguise for me.”
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As a member of the Bengals practice squad, Still’s family will receive full health coverage and he will be paid $6,300 per week. He’ll also have to travel far less than he would if he was on the active roster. The team has helped put him in position to help fight off Leah’s terrible disease.
“We’re going to go to battle with cancer,” Still said. “She’s willing to put up a fight to beat it.”
Fortunately, football isn’t always a business. There are exceptions to every rule.
Photo: Instagram/Devon Still