Devon Still getting starter reps with Houston Texans

Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

Devon Still’s story off the field has gotten plenty of attention, and rightfully so, but now he’s getting a significant opportunity with the Houston Texans.

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Two years ago, Devon Still’s Cincinnati Bengals’ jersey became one of NFL’s top sellers. As his daughter Leah battled cancer, all proceeds from sales of Still’s jersey went to pediatric cancer research and fans stepped up. His daughter is now in remission, and after landing with the Houston Texans on a futures deal in January Still is getting a big opportunity on the field.

Back in June the Houston Chronicle reported Still was competing for the starting defensive end spot opposite J.J. Watt during off-season work. Early in training camp, Still is getting a long look with Houston’s first-team defense and the paper is reporting he could win a starting job.

Still was a second-round pick (No. 53 overall) by the Bengals in 2012, after a good college career at Penn State that included his being named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 2011. So he has the talent to stick in the NFL, and at 27 years old he should have plenty left to offer. His daughter’s cancer battle took his attention well away from the football field, and Still has acknowledged a renewed focus on his career.

"“I did put in a lot of work this offseason, so when I got this opportunity I could make the most of it,” Devon Still said. “I’m excited to step back into this position after being for a year. It’s amazing.”"

The Texans had one of the best defenses in the league last year, and they should be in that same air this year. But Watt’s recent back surgery, Vince Wilfork’s advancing age and Jadeveon Clowney’s injury history do bring question marks that can’t be ignored. Still can help answer some of those questions, and if he becomes a legitimate difference-maker an NFL feel-good story will be even more complete.

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