Devon Still is not too far removed from being a second-round pick out of Penn State when the Cincinnati Bengals drafted him in 2012. Appearing in 30 games for the Bengals between 2012-2014, Still was part of a vaunted Bengals defensive line that is still considered one of the top position groups in the NFL. He was part of a rotation that saw him rack get plenty of snaps, but all his football life was pushed to the side to concentrate on his daughter, Leah.
In 2014, Leah was diagnosed with neuroblastoma stage 4 cancer and he stopped his career to focus his efforts on being the key support for his daughter. Recovering from his own injury which required back surgery, Still sat out all of the 2015 season and that was when the good news came, that after a long battle with cancer, Leah was remission late in 2015 and early, in 2016, Still announced that she remained cancer free and that she had beaten cancer.
With his personal life in order, Still was signed by the Texans in January and his efforts have been refocused back to the football field. It has come with a new opportunity for Still, as the Texans were searching for a starting defensive end opposite of J.J. Watt.
“I’m very grateful that they gave me another opportunity to be on this team,” explained Still. “I’m just going to go out there and take on whatever role that the Texans give me and do it to the best of my ability.”
The three-year veteran has some solid game experience but he is going to have to work from the ground up to catch up to players who have been in the defensive system longer than him. Still is not worried about proving anything; he is sure that the experience with Leah has him in the right place to prove he belongs with the Texans.
“I don’t think I’m setting out to prove anything to the league.” said Stiil. “I think I’m setting out to prove something to myself and show my daughter something. She’s taught me a lot about life in these past two years of how to overcome adversity. I think it’s my turn now to show her now how to overcome adversity.”
With a real chance for him to make this team, Still will have to hit the ground running and, with OTAs in full swing, he will get a fair shake to prove he can handle the position. It is early but Still will give the Texans options when it comes time to make decisions as training camp approaches.
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