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By now, it’s likely that most NFL fans have heard or read the amazing story of Devon Still, the Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle who was given a promotion from the practice squad to their active roster to assist with his daughter’s growing medical bills.
Still recently told ESPN that his daughter’s mounting bills due to Stage 4 pediatric cancer treatment could amount to somewhere near the $1 million mark. His boost from the practice squad will bump Still’s salary from the $100,000 range to somewhere around $400,000, the league minimum for members of an active roster.
Cincinnati Head Coach Marv Lewis said that adding Still to the active roster was “the best football move we can make, we think Devon is ready to rejoin our line and be productive. 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.”
On Monday, the Bengals announced via their website that all proceeds from the sale of Still’s jersey were being donated to pediatric cancer research. This special black jersey costs $100 and is only being sold through the Bengals themselves. Less than 24 hours later, a team official told ESPN.com that the defensive tackles’ No. 75 jersey has sold faster in that time frame than any other Bengal’s jersey ever and that several times Tuesday the team’s pro shop website crashed due to the amazing outpouring from the public.
Benevolence has not only been limited to the fans and the general public.
New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton was so moved by Still’s daughter Leah’s story, that he decided to purchase 100 jersey’s out of his own pocket to help the cause. In response to this incredible gesture, Devon took to social media via twitter saying, “Big thanks for to the Saints for ordering jerseys to help support pediatric cancer…only one word to describe everything, AMAZING!!”
With the amount of negativity surrounding the NFL in recent weeks, it’s wonderful to see coaches, players and front office staff coming together to help not only fellow members of the league but others in need, as well.
We can only hope that this story will be a catalyst for those fortunate enough to play and coach in the league to take action and help those in their communities who need it most.
It couldn’t hurt the NFL in the PR department, either.
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