Bengals use Still jerseys for charity

CINCINNATI -- Devon Still continues to have the feel-good story in professional sports.

Late Monday, the Cincinnati Bengals announced via their website they were donating all proceeds from sales of Still's jersey to pediatric cancer research.

Less than 24 hours later, a team official told ESPN.com that more of the defensive tackle's black No. 75 jerseys had been sold in that time span than any jersey featuring any other Bengals player ever.


"Ever," Jeff Berding, the Bengals' director of sales and public affairs, said. He didn't have an exact number of sales at the time.

Still was also signed off the practice squad to the active roster Tuesday, according to his agent, Drew Rosenhaus. The Bengals made the move official on Wednesday.

Still is the defensive lineman who was cut by the Bengals two weeks ago, when the team had to reach its 53-man roster limit, before later being welcomed back as part of the practice squad. Coaches originally cut him because injuries had derailed some of his playing ability in the preseason.

They also could tell he wasn't fully invested in football while dealing with the stresses of the Stage 4 cancer his 4-year-old daughter, Leah, is currently battling.

She's been given a 50-50 chance at surviving.

"I wanted to make the roster, but I have a lot of stuff going on right now that I can't give football 100 percent," Still said to reporters last Monday. "[The team] could have just washed their hands completely of it. Said, 'We don't care what's going on in his personal life, we just want people who can care 100 percent on football.' That's, after all, what they pay us to do."

Rosenhaus offered his congratulations via Twitter.

"We have an open roster spot, and this is the best football move we can make to fill it," coach Marvin Lewis said in a statement.

"We think Devon is ready to rejoin our line rotation and be productive. It already was stated that a big reason Devon opened on the practice squad was that he couldn't fully focus on football this preseason. He had to take care of his daughter. But 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."

In keeping Still, the Bengals helped ensure he'd have the league's health insurance to pay for Leah's treatments. Still said those medical costs could reach $1 million.

In an interview with ESPN.com last Friday, Still reiterated that he wanted to use this negative in his and his family's life, and turn it into a positive for others. The jersey sale is one way he's trying to give back. He also has a donation program through a fundraising website that allows people to pledge money for every sack the Bengals' defense gets this season. Sunday at Baltimore, the Bengals sacked Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco three times, including once on a game-sealing fourth-down stop in the final two minutes.

"One of the things we took into consideration before we made it public that my daughter had cancer was that my daughter's not fighting this for no reason," Still said. "That at least what we get out of this battle is that more people start to know about childhood cancer and more people decide to start helping with it so that families don't have to go through it by themselves."

Berding said the team wanted to get involved with Still's fundraising efforts because it has been "overwhelmed by the support locally and nationally" that has been extended toward both the Bengals and Still. Berding said the team has had a steady stream of emails since last week from people asking for ways they can help Still and his cause.

One woman from Wyoming emailed Monday saying that since she didn't have an NFL team in her state she had options of teams to choose. According to Berding, she's now choosing the Bengals.

"Literally, that's what it's been all day," Berding said.

At points Tuesday, the team's pro shop website crashed from the response for Still's jersey.

All proceeds from the jersey -- it costs $100 and is only sold through the Bengals -- will go to the Cincinnati Children's Hospital's pediatric research efforts. Along with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the hospital where Leah has been receiving treatments, Cincinnati Children's ranks among the top 3 medical centers for childhood cancer research in the country, according to the U.S. News & World Report.

Information from ESPN.com's Field Yates was used in this report.