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Why I'm the Cincinnati Bengals' Newest Fan

Photograph by Instagram

I’m sure there’s something else besides football that I care about less, but I just can’t think of it at the moment. Oh, wait, I know — college football. And hockey.

Yep, much to my husband’s dismay, I just don’t get it. Nothing about football appeals to me. Not the tailgating, stadium cheese, Super Bowl commercials and least of all the actual game. Never, ever has watching grown men in tight pants crack helmets held my interest, and at times it even bears the brunt of my wrath with all the time it sucks from the weekends.

All of a sudden, though, I’m a big Cincinnati Bengals Fan. Huge.

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I’m not jumping on their bandwagon because they’re a good team. (Are they? I don’t even know.) I’m not cheering for them, either, because they’re lovable losers. (Again, if their record is 0-500, I’m not the one to ask). No, it’s because defensive tackle Devon Still wears a Bengals jersey.

Still was actually cut from the 53-man team last weekend when it was determined he no could no longer dedicate 100 percent to the game. He didn’t get tripped up by a partying lifestyle or suddenly find that he preferred God to pigskin, however. It’s due to the fact that he learned in June that his 4-year-old daughter, Leah, has Stage 4 pediatric cancer — so his focus understandably wandered off the field.

It gives you the warm and fuzzies knowing there are human beings underneath all of the dollar signs, bright lights and bottom lines.

“My whole world turned upside down,” Still said to ABC News.

Last week Leah started her fourth round of chemotherapy and Still said she’s prepared to do battle.

By cutting him from the roster but re-signing him to the practice squad, the Bengals have allowed Still to continue receiving health insurance through the NFL to pay for his daughter’s treatment — which will run north of seven figures — plus draw a healthy $6,300 week salary, and travel less so he can spend more time with his family. Re-signing him was an even lovelier gesture when you consider he missed six games last season due to back and elbow injuries.

“[The Bengals] could have washed their hands with me and said they didn’t care about what I was going through off the field,” he said. “It’s like a blessing in disguise for me.”

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I’d actually argue the move is a blessing for the entire NFL as well as their fans. At a time when football is getting a (well-deserved) bad rap for the rise in the number of concussions among its professional and amateur players, it gives you the warm and fuzzies knowing there are human beings underneath all of the dollar signs, bright lights and bottom lines.

Still might not be of much use to the Bengals on Sunday afternoons, but I’d argue the Bengals just made great strides for the entire sport of football by showing they have a lot of heart in addition to a lot of big guys.

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