Growing up in Dayton, Ohio, I became a Bengals fan as soon as I learned what football was.
And let me tell you: It hasn't been easy to be a Bengals fan over the last 30 years. Where do I start? The heartbreak of Super Bowl XXIII, the leg break of Tim Krumrie. Dave Shula and Bruce Coslet can't coach, David Klingler and Akili Smith can't quarterback. Ki-Jana Carter crushes his leg, Kimo Von Oelhoffen crushes a season. Multiple arrests, multiple first-round playoff losses...
I could keep going, but you get the point. However, the Bengals have been righting the ship over the last few years. Yes, they've suffered three consecutive first-round playoff exits, but the idea of three consecutive playoff berths was nothing but a pipe dream just a few years ago. The team has put together some great drafts over the years, and the coaching staff has been above competent the last 12 years under Marvin Lewis - who trails only Bill Belichick for longest current head coaching tenure in the NFL.
With all the good things brewing in the Queen City, it's no surprise to me that the one good thing to happen to the NFL this week is because of the Bengals.
Have you heard the story about Devon Still? He's the defensive tackle who was originally cut by the Bengals, then offered a position on the practice squad in order to help him pay for his 4-year-old daughter's cancer treatments, which could total over $1 million.
It's hard to pay those kinds of bills on a practice squad salary, so the Bengals promoted Still to the 53-man active roster, increasing his salary from $100,000 to at least $405,000. Lewis said that adding Still to the active roster was "the best football move we can make."
Talk about giving you the feels. But wait, there's more!
On Monday, the Bengals announced they were donating all proceeds from sales of Still's jersey online to pediatric cancer research.
Less than 24 hours later, a team official told ESPN that Still's jersey sold more in the first 24 hours of the donation drive than any other Bengals player's jersey ever has in a single day. To date, over 1,500 jerseys have been sold. New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton bought 100 himself.
Even though they've been mired in playoff mediocrity for most of this decade, the Bengals used one of their precious roster spots to do the right thing for one of their own. This story makes me proud to be a fan of the Cincinnati Bengals, and provided the NFL a much-needed respite this week from the radioactive waste spewing from Ray Rice and Roger Goodell.
I'm happy to say that Jason and I both ordered Still jerseys. That's a quick $200 to Cincinnati Children's Hospital and pediatric cancer care and research from The Jason Fitz Show. We're thrilled to support such a great cause.
If you'd like to order a Devon Still jersey and join the fight against pediatric cancer, please visit the Bengals Pro Shop.
Have a great week of football, everyone!