Practice squad spot means health insurance for Bengals lineman to care for daughter battling cancer

For most NFL players, making the practice squad instead of the 53-man roster is a huge letdown. But for Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still, it was a sign of loyalty.

Still’s four-year-old daughter is battling pediatric cancer and by being on the Bengals’ practice squad, Still still has health insurance.

“They could have just washed their hands completely of it,” Still told Paul Dehner of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Say 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 what they pay us to do. But they thought about my personal issues and allowed me to come back on the practice squad so I still have insurance. They said if I keep working on my physical with my injury and mentally prepared myself to focus on football, then they can move me back up to the roster, so I am not all the way out of the loop.”

If he stays on the roster, he will also earn $100,000 this season. The other silver lining for Still is that he won’t have to travel on road trips, allowing him to spend more time with his daughter.

“I completely understand where they were coming from,” Still said. “I can’t give football 100 percent right now. In the business aspect they want guys to solely focus on football, which is understandable. We are here to win this city a Super Bowl and right now I am not in a position where I can give football 100 percent of everything I have.”

Last week, Still posted a photo of his daughter on Instagram with the caption: “Round 4 of chemo starts today..sending up a prayer that God allows my daughter to remain as strong as she has her previous cycles and I ask that after this chemo the test show that the tumor has shrunk to the point where it allows for an easy surgery to remove it.”

Thomas Johnson is a reporter.
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