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."
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."
Read more at ESPN.