Devon Still makes a courageous stand

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Reduced to tears./NFL

Reduced to tears./NFL

A ray of hope in a dark football season

Author: brady lang – multimedia editor

I don’t think anyone could do what Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still just did this past Sunday.

Still, the third-year Penn State graduate has gone through so much in the past year and a half – a lot more than the average human being could go through in a lifetime.

Still’s daughter, Leah, was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma, a rare cancer which affects young children, in early June and given a 50 percent chance of survival. Later on that summer, Still was released by the Bengals, the team that drafted him just two years earlier.

But, in one of the feel good stories coming out of the NFL this season, the Bengals did something truly admirable. The Bengals signed Still on to their practice roster to help pay for his daughter’s hospital bills, which were continuing to pile up due to all of the surgeries she had to go through to increase her chance of survival.

The NFL also stepped in on the situation in a big way by having Still’s jerseys sold, all in efforts to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer. The NFL helped out in the efforts to help the defensive tackle out. They raised approximately $1 million dollars in total sales with the Cincinnati Bengals also announcing that the covered all $500,000 of Leah’s bills going into her cancer treatment.

The way the NFL came together to help the Bengals’ defensive tackle was truly special after the dark times that the league has faced within the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson problems earlier this season. Robert Kraft, the New England Patriots charismatic owner, donated $ 25,000 to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

The play of Still was also pretty special throughout this early 2014 season. After starting on the practice roster, Still slowly played his way onto the starting roster in week two and has been solid on the defensive line for the Bengals. Still, after three games, has already hit his career high in tackles with four and seems to be getting better every game for the 3-1 Bengals.

The most miraculous part about Still’s journey happened last Sunday night when we finally saw the compilation of the defensive tackle’s hard work and ability to work through the toughest situations when his daughter and himself were given support in the Sunday night game in New England. The Patriots cheerleaders wore Still jerseys and before the game, the Patriots had a video tribute for awareness for children with pediatric cancer.

Photos and videos of that game spread through the Internet and the awareness raised throughout the game and support that Still and his daughter received hit an all time high.

Even though this season has been a dark year for the NFL, it’s nice to know that there are still great people in the league and that there are still people out there who are willing to support a life-changing cause for not only Still and his family, but for families battling this disease around the world.

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