Who Wins Bengals’ Final Defensive Line Spot?
Sep 14, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still (75) against the Atlanta Falcons at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 24-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Fourth-year defensive tackle hasn’t enjoyed a smooth transition to the NFL either. Still didn’t play much during his rookie season, but that was when Domata Peko and Geno Atkins were playing at an elite level, so this was to be expected. During his second season he suffered an injury that kept him out of six games, which like Hunt, hindered his development. Last season, Devon Still has justifiably distracted from his craft due to his daughter’s battle with cancer.
Nov 30, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still (75) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14-13. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
This season things could be different. Still feels his daughter’s battle is over and is playing with a new perspective.
"“I have a totally different perspective on life. It will do that when you’re watching your kid fight for their life. You understand what’s most important to you. For me, that’s just being there and being a father for my daughter and letting her know I was going to stick by her side during this fight and she wasn’t going to fight alone. Now that she has beat cancer, it’s time for me to focus back on football and show everybody what I can do.”"
Devon Still has come to play this year. He showed up in camp lighter–he lost 18 pounds this offseason–and claims he’s in the best shape of his football career.
"“I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in my football career, period — college or pro. I’m playing motivated now. My daughter has won the battle against cancer, and I know she wants me to go out and prove myself on the football field. So that’s what I’m working towards.”"
If Devon Still wants to remain in Cincinnati, he’ll need to have a big offseason and begin fulfilling some of the “NFL-ready” promise he offered back in 2012. He has a steep hill to climb. He’ll need to overcome the capable competition around him, but Still certainly has the talent to make the defense better and to help defend the run. It would be a great story to see Still finally make it in the NFL after all he’s gone through. We’ll have to wait until next month to see how things play out.