Still in the game
The third-year tackle was initially released by the Bengals in the preseason, after telling management that his head wasn't fully in the game after his 4-year-old daughter, Leah, was diagnosed in June with Stage IV neuroblastoma, a form of cancer that commonly affects children under the age of 5.
Though the Bengals released him, the team then took the extraordinary move of keeping him on their practice squad, allowing him to remain near his daughter in Cincinnati and keep his benefits, including health insurance, that allowed him to pay for the treatments for Leah that he said were expected to cost more than $1 million.
The two recently were in a video that went viral, right before Leah's surgery on Sept. 25 to remove a tumor from her abdomen. In it, Still gives his daughter a pep talk about getting rid of the cancer. (You can view the video here.) After a six-hour surgery, doctors successfully removed her tumor, but she still faces a long road of treatment ahead before she can be declared cancer-free.
Most recently, in the Bengals' game Sunday on the road against New England, Still was moved to tears as the home team Patriots saluted Leah and her fight, playing video clips of her on the video screens and having their cheerleaders don Still's No. 75 Bengals jersey.
— Ashlyn Gibson (@ashlyngibson) October 6, 2014
Speaking of the jersey, the Bengals made Still's No. 75 available on their team store (try finding another practice squad player on any team with his jersey for sale online) with proceeds going to Cincinnati Children's Hospital, where Leah is receiving treatment.
The item quickly became one of the team's top sellers. Orders for the jersey worldwide have topped 10,000 and raised more than $1 million, according to Bengals.com. Sean Payton, the coach of the New Orleans Saints, bought 100 jerseys out of his own pocket and donated them to the children's hospital. ESPN anchor Scott Van Pelt followed Payton's lead and bought 50 jerseys himself to donate to youth football players and cheerleaders in Cincinnati.
The jersey is still on sale but not for much longer. The item now carries this note on the Bengals pro shop:
Effective Monday October 20 we will no longer accept orders for this product. We are proud to announce that a check will be presented to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for OVER $1 million dollars, due to the generosity of people such as yourself.
For CASH donations to Pediatric Cancer Care and Research, please see this link: https://www.pldgit.com/campaign/768450939739702307
Again thank you.
Bengals Pro Shop
If you'd care to purchase one over the next two weeks, to donate it you can just ship it back to the Bengals at the team address on their web site.