Devon Still is a professional athlete, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and advocate for childhood cancer awareness.
He is also a former Houston Texan’s defensive end, a former Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive tackle, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, and a Penn State University All-American. Perhaps most importantly, Still is Leah’s dad, helping her publicly “beat up cancer” and embarking on a pediatric cancer-fighting journey.
A snapshot of his accolades speaks volumes about his purpose, his heart, his life’s mission – the 2015 Jimmy V Espy Award for Perseverance, People Magazine’s 2016 Dad of the Year and the 2017 Penn State Alumni Achievement Award for most successful alumni under 30. He’s thrived amidst adversity and stayed in the game.
But how did Still land here, from the drug infested, violent streets of Wilmington, Delaware, to become the first person in his family to graduate from college and be selected in the second round of the 2012 National Football League Draft by the Bengals? How did he lead the Penn State football family through the media-obsessed Jerry Sandusky scandal? By reaching deep within, harnessing his passion and perseverance, his grit, and refusing to watch life from the bench.
Still has dodged adverse life events that almost sidelined his destiny. The middle child of divorced parents, he spiraled out of control and got caught up in the dream-stealing street scene early in life. But at age 13, Still’s father introduced him to football – the sport that would change his life and open his path to help others.
When his precious daughter Leah was diagnosed with a rare pediatric cancer in 2015 – two months after Still almost died from post-back surgery blood clots in his lungs – he miraculously returned to the football field wearing Leah’s message of hope during every game. Their fight impacted and inspired millions around the world. Now, through the Still Strong Foundation, his partnership with socially conscious organizations has raised more than $2 million and is influencing the global cancer conversation.
Still’s natural football abilities and focus kept him fast tracked collegiately and professionally. Injuries and life hurdles halted his on-field hustle, but proved to strengthen his mental muscle. Returning time and again from seemingly career ending injuries and life-altering circumstances, Still continually steps on the football field and the life stage as a leader with renewed energy, determination… and a message to share.
“Through all of this and more, I’m still standing because I understand that, as long as I am alive, I’m still in the game.” – Devon Still