Devon Still eager to meet Payton

Still Strong (5:06)

Bram Weinstein profiles Bengals DT Devon Still, whose 4-year-old daughter is battling cancer. (5:06)

CINCINNATI -- Devon Still finally has a chance to face the man who helped kick off the massive response to sales of his jersey, whose proceeds last week went to pediatric cancer research.

The Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle is looking forward to greeting New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and shaking his hand before their game at the Superdome on Sunday. The two have never formally met, although they did chat briefly on the phone during a joint interview on ESPN's "Mike & Mike" radio show in mid-September, one week after Payton purchased 100 of Still's jerseys.

Payton was the first football personality with a name that resonated to participate in Still's fundraising efforts. In the days that followed, others joined.

"You really can't thank somebody the way you want to or are supposed to over the phone. It's something you have to do face-to-face," Still said.

In addition to Payton's purchase, the Bengals sold nearly 15,000 of Still's jerseys over slightly more than a month. All proceeds from Still's $100 jersey went into a donation fund the Bengals collected. Last Thursday, during a check presentation in the middle of their prime-time game at home against the Browns, the Bengals gave the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center $1.3 million from their fundraising efforts.

All of the money will go toward pediatric cancer research efforts.

Since June 2, Still's 4-year-old daughter, Leah, has been dealing with Stage 4 neuroblastoma, a rare cancer that gave her a 50-50 chance to live. She has since had surgery to remove the cancerous tumor from her body, although cancer still remains in parts of her chest and lower extremities. On Wednesday, she underwent a radiation procedure that her father hopes will be the only one she has to face. Results from the procedure could take up to six weeks to come back to doctors.

Leah's fight has been in the national spotlight since the beginning of September, when the Bengals cut Still at the end of the preseason, only to add him back a day later as part of the practice squad. He has since been activated and has appeared in eight games. He has 17 tackles.

Payton said he was inspired to help when he heard about Still's story on the radio while driving home.

"Over the years, having coached at Miami of Ohio, having spent time at the Bengals' training camps as a guest and certainly our joint practices that we held in '07, knowing [coach] Marvin [Lewis] for a long time ... you get to know a group a little closer than other teams," Payton told Cincinnati media this week. "Just hearing how they handled it all was pretty inspirational. It was really spontaneous and something I thought would be a good gesture."

When Still and Payton were on "Mike & Mike," the coach issued the reserve lineman one charge: "I'm a huge fan from afar, [though] I've never met you.

"When we play you down the road, now, we can't have any sacks on [Drew] Brees."

Still can't promise that he'll comply with that request. But he can promise to speak with emotion when he greets Payton on Sunday.

"Whatever comes to mind, whatever comes from my heart," Still said.