When Devon Still didn’t make the Bengals 53 man roster, he wasn’t as devastated as one might expect. His 4 year old daughter had just been diagnosed with cancer, so his first reaction was relief because he’d be able to spend more time with her. What the Bengals did next and what has happened since is nothing short of awesome. Devon joined Glenn on radio today to tell his story and give an update on his daugther.
Listen to the interview at 38minutes below:
GLENN: Welcome to the program, Devon Still. He is a defensive lineman for the Cincinnati Bengals. If you don't know the story, which isn't a sports story, it's just a story of human beings being good to one another.
In June, Devon learned his 4-year-old daughter has Stage 4 cancer. Given a 50 percent survival rate. At the same time, he is being cut from the roster of the Bengals. I'm going to let him tell the rest of the story. Devon, how are you, sir?
STILL: I'm doing good. And yourself?
GLENN: I'm doing very good. First of all, tell me how your daughter is doing.
STILL: She's doing good. She's actually bounced back from the surgery pretty well. She's up moving around, talking and eating, so she's been a trooper through this whole process.
GLENN: And when will you know how effective this surgery was?
STILL: Well, we know for a fact it was already effective because they was able to get out all of the tumor and lymph nodes in her adrenal gland where the tumor first started. Now, we just wait and see how long it takes her body to completely bounce back from the surgery, and she's going to have another round of chemo and radiation to take out the cancer cells that is in her bone, her bone marrow.
GLENN: How are her adrenal glands, are they still intact?
STILL: She only has one. They took out the other one.
GLENN: You find this out, as devastating as this is, you also find out that you're being cut from the roster. Tell me what's going through your mind when this is all happening.
STILL: Well, I had a discussion about being cut -- obviously wasn't something I wanted to happen, but also it wasn't the hardest conversation I had. Whereas before, me being sat down and told I would no longer play football, it would have been hard for me because I love football a lot.
But being as I just had the worst sit-down conversation that I probably ever will on June 2nd, when I found out my daughter had cancer, it didn't hit me as hard because my daughter was still on my mind. And when I was actually told that, I thought I was going to be able to have more time to go back and be with my daughter. But I was given an opportunity to be on the practice squad by the Bengals, so I still have insurance to afford my daughter's cancer treatments.
PAT: So, Devon, they brought you back, was it specifically -- you know, obviously partly for skill, but it was partly just so you could have insurance for your daughter so you could take care of her?
STILL: No, that's the main thing that I considered it to be. I believe it was for skill. To give me time to bounce back from my injuries that I had the previous season and to also get over that hump of me still being in disbelief of my daughter having cancer and being away from her. But I took it as an opportunity for me and my daughter to still have insurance to pay for her cancer treatment because that's what's most important to me.
GLENN: So now the Bengals went a step further and made a deal with your jersey. You want to tell me how this came about?
STILL: Actually it was something they did on their own. I didn't know nothing about. I actually went on Twitter and saw that they had begun to sell my jerseys and was going to donate 100 percent of the proceeds to Children's of Pediatric Cancer, which wasn't a surprise move from the Bengals by me because since day one when I told them about my daughter, they stood behind me and tried to help out any way possible.
PAT: Pretty amazing. Also, you have since gone from the practice team to the regular 53-man roster, and have actually been playing the last few weeks and doing really well?
STILL: Yeah. I mean, just the outpouring I have had from everybody -- family members, my fiancé -- it allows me to focus on football a lot more than I was able to in the beginning because I was still trying to cope with what was going on with my daughter. If you think about it, I'm only 25 years old. I'm still a young man. I'm still trying to be the best father I can be. Trying to juggle that and my daughter being ill --
GLENN: I have to tell you, there's a lot of people that are much older that don't handle it like you're handling it. I mean, we're in a society now that just is not -- we're not holding up great fathers. And you really seem to really be a good dad and trying to be a good dad.
STILL: Right. I mean, it's hard for me not to be because every time I see that smile on my daughter's face, it makes me want to be the best man possible and best father possible to her. So hopefully we can change the trend, change the image of fathers in America and move forward.
GLENN: How has this changed you?
STILL: It changed me a lot. It changed my whole perspective on life. It showed me what's most important, and that's just to cherish the time that you have with your loved ones.
And I don't complain about stuff as much as I did before. I have a lot of football injuries that I thought was just the worse thing in the world. When I see my daughter fighting for her life and she's able to stay with a smile on her face, that lets me know to know that what I'm going to do is nothing compared to what she's going through.
GLENN: When you see that 10,000 people bought your jersey and really it's out of support for you and your daughter, and then who was it the New Orleans Saints that came in and bought 100 jerseys themselves, and you see what the Bengals have done, what does that tell you about people?
STILL: Well, it's changed my perspective on people and this world because I don't know about y'all, but when I look at TV and I look at the news, all you hear is about bad things, about the bad things people are doing, so that was my thought about people in this world. But seeing people step up to the plate and stick up for people who are fighting pediatric cancer by donating money and also buying my jersey so that the proceeds go to cancer research, it really shows me how much amazing people there is in this world.
GLENN: By the way, if you'd like to continue that demonstration of being amazing, you can go to proshop.Bengals.com, and the Devon Still jersey, all the proceeds still go to pediatric cancer research.
PAT: So, Devon, where do you go from here? What does the future look like for you and your daughter from now on?
STILL: Hopefully bright. It definitely is going down a positive direction right now. Hopefully my daughter is able to bounce 100 percent back from surgery and then she goes in to have chemo and radiation to take out the rest of the cancer cells there in her bones. Then she has the stem cell transplant to give her back her good stem cells that were frozen when the process started to build back the bone marrow.
PAT: I've never been a Cincinnati Bengals fan, but this has really made me one.
GLENN: Honestly, with all the things -- and with all the things that are happening in the NFL and, I mean, last night, who was the guy -- the Kansas City Chiefs, that was given unsportsmanlike conduct for going down in the end zone and kneeling down and praying and thanking God? He was given unsportsmanlike conduct. How is that unsportsmanlike?
STILL: I don't know. They came up with a rule that we can't go to the ground for celebration. But I thought they would make an exception.
STU: Yeah, the NFL did come out and say that that was the incorrect call. The penalty was incorrect.
GLENN: Well, that's good. I'm glad to hear that. Devon, thank you so much. And we wish you and your daughter all the best. And know that there are millions around the country that are praying for her and praying for people that are just like you in your situation, and I'm so glad to hear you're coming around, kind of where we're coming around. You see a lot of crap on TV and you star to lose faith, and then a story like this makes you think, that's just not the way it is.
God bless you, man. Thank you.
STILL: All right. Thanks, man.
Front page image courtesy of the AP.