Why did Devon Still leave the NFL?
The Cincinnati Bengals selected Devon Still with their 53rd overall pick in the second round of the 2012 NFL draft. Still played his college football at Penn State University. He was selected as the Big Ten defensive player of the year and a Consensus All-American in 2011.
Devon Still spent four years in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals and Houston Texans. The majority of his NFL career was spent with the Bengals although his final year in the league was with the Houston Texans.
Devon Still's last season in the NFL was in 2016. But what made the former defensive tackle leave the NFL?
Devon Still played in the NFL for just four seasons
Devon Still's daughter was diagnosed with Stage IV neuroblastoma which is a rare pediatric cancer. As a result, he was faced with a tough decision. He could stay by his daughter's side at the hospital or continue playing football to pay medical expenses.
Devon Still's daughter was given a fifty percent chance of survival. Neuroblastoma is a serious condition that only impacts children 5 years of age or younger. It most commonly arises in and around the adrenal glands, which have similar origins to nerve cells and sit atop the kidneys.
Neuroblastoma can also appear in the abdomen, chest, neck and near the spine where groups of cells are located. The condition most often occurs in children who have no family history of the disease. However, in 1–2% of cases, an increased chance of developing neuroblastoma can be inherited from a parent. Unfortunately, the cause outside of family history has not been identified.
Devon Still walked away from football in 2017 to help his daughter Leah in her fight against cancer. This took the NFL by surprise because Leah was in remission but Still wanted to focus all his energy on the Still Strong Foundation.
The Still Strong Foundation offers grants for non-medical expenses to families who are battling any type of cancer. In December of 2020, Devon Still's daughter Leah celebrated five years of being cancer-free. Still continues to fight cancer through his foundation to this day.
Devon Still made a decision to leave all the money and all the hard work he put in to make the NFL and that will go down as one of the greatest and toughest choices of his life. Devon Still put being a father over everything and will forever be remembered as the best "NFL Dad Ever."