Defensive lineman Devon Still decides to play for Bengals
CINCINNATI (AP) Defensive tackle Devon Still signed a one-year contract to stay with the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday, a few days after getting encouraging news about his 4-year-old daughter's fight with cancer.
The Bengals had offered Still a one-year deal. He waited to see how his daughter, Leah, was doing before making a decision. Results of her tests this week showed her cancer treatments are working.
If the results weren't as encouraging, Still would have had to decide whether to try to sign on with a team on the East Coast so he could be closer to his daughter, or return to Cincinnati and see her less often.
''Everything really depended upon my daughter's results,'' Still said during a conference call. ''Now that they are going the right way, obviously I am going back to Cincinnati because that's the team that drafted me and stood by me the whole time.''
Leah Still was diagnosed with cancer last year and had surgery to remove a rumor from her abdomen. After her most recent course of chemotherapy, a test found no trace of the disease. Still is waiting for the results of more tests to see if the cancer is gone.
Still has played in 30 games with Cincinnati during the last three seasons, including 12 last year. He also helped to raise more than $1.3 million for pediatric cancer research and treatment. His daughter attended a game at Paul Brown Stadium and met Lauren Hill, the Mount St. Joseph freshman basketball player who is dying from brain cancer.
''It's great to have Devon back with us,'' coach Marvin Lewis said. ''We know it has been a very difficult journey for him the last year. Devon remains focused on Leah's recovery and on furthering his NFL career, and we're excited to be able to provide that opportunity.''
The Bengals kept Still on the practice squad to start last season, when he was immersed in his daughter's treatment and didn't have his heart in playing football. Still has been grateful for the team's gesture and its patience.
''Coming off of a (2013) season where I had a difficult year with elbow and back surgery in the same season and follow that season up my daughter being diagnosed with cancer, I definitely didn't warrant a new contract with the Bengals,'' Still said. ''But they gave me another opportunity to go out there and prove myself.
''And with my daughter's treatments going good and I'm finally back to being 100 percent, I was able to put in a lot of time working out this offseason. I'm definitely looking forward to a way better season than I've had thus far.''
Also on Thursday, the Bengals also signed free-agent cornerback Brandon Ghee, who played for them from 2010-13. Ghee was with Tennessee last season.
Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL