Defensive tackle Devon Still came back from his bye week Monday to find his locker stacked with boxes and envelopes that he assumed "are for my daughter."
He acknowledged with a laugh that the presents would be tough to get out to his car, but he also said the outpouring of support has given him a huge lift as four-year-old Leah continues her fight against Stage 4 cancer in wake of Thursday's surgery that removed a tumor from her abdomen. Her dad says she'll be on her way home from the hospital Monday or Tuesday, depending on how she's eating.
"People have been sending her a lot of different toys, blankets, dolls and everything," he said. "Just from seeing all of that I know it's going to be a hassle getting it to the car, but that's always a good thing when people are supportive and sending stuff like that."
The Bengals announced over the weekend they'll present a check for $1 million to the Cincinnati Children's Medical Center for pediatric cancer research with the sales of Still's No. 75 jersey at $100 each nearing the 10,000 mark. Still said if the doctors pronounce Leah healthy enough to travel, she'd be at the Nov. 6 check presentation, when the Bengals play Cleveland on Thursday night football.
We're not going to push it," Still said. "It's not that important for me to have her out here. Her health is more important." …
Quarterback Andy Dalton admitted Monday the adrenaline gets going when he plays a quarterback like 37-year-old Tom Brady as the Bengals prep for the Patriots on Sunday Night Football (8:30-Cincinnati's Channel 5) in New England: "He's a guy I grew up watching,' said Dalton, 26. He'll watch him Monday night when the Pats play the Chiefs in Kansas City, saying, "Monday night is family time watching Monday Night Football."
"I think he's done a lot with their offense even when he's had different guys," Dalton said. "He's done a lot with guys he hasn't been around for a long time. He gets those guys to really buy in and fit his system and what he's doing and has made plays with that. I just think his command and control of the offense has been big." …
Dalton should have wide receiver Marvin Jones (foot) and running back Rex Burkhead (sprained MCL) for the first time all year against the Patriots. Burkhead, who said he suffered the same injury in college, has had no surprises. Just when he would get the ball in a backfield that is trying to get enough carries for Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill is anyone's guess. But even though Burkhead played in just one game as a rookie last year, he's shown promise in his two training camps while playing all over the place for special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons.
"Rex is a good combination of what Gio can do and what Jeremy can do," Dalton said. "He can get tough yardage, but he also has some wiggle to him and can make guys miss. It will be fun to see him out there and see what he can do to help us."
Burkhead has been watching Bernard and Hill pound it and he knows offensive coordinator Hue Hue Jackson has just one ball.
"They've looked good. If you get an opportunity of course you want to be out there and run the ball as well," Burkhead said. "It's up to Hue and the coaches to see how they want to use me. But I'd be more than happy to carry a few times."
The interesting call here is if the Bengals decide to keep four running backs active. They didn't in all but one of last year's 16 games and Burkhead got his only shot against Baltimore because there were injuries at other positions. But in addition to Simmons playing Burkhead in all the spots that special teams co-captain Cedric Peerman plays, Simmons has showed a lot of faith in his versatility in the kicking game for a guy who barely played on it until he got here.
"Against Baltimore I played on the front line on kick return. I had never done that until that week," Burkhead said. "It doesn't matter. It just depends on the game plan and who we are playing.
"Honestly, I hadn't played special teams since before my freshman year in high school. It had been a while," Burkhead said. "I've returned punts and kicks in college and high school but you catch the ball and run pretty much. Now there is so much more to it (with) the game plan, and I learn something new every day." ...
Although he wasn't back on the field for practice Monday, WILL backer Vontaze Burfict (concussion) is expected to be available this week, according to head coach Marvin Lewis. It looks like it may be at least another week for right guard Kevin Zeitler (calf) and defensive tackle Brandon Thompson (knee). They weren't on the field, but defensive end Margus Hunt returned after missing last week's workout…