Devon Still is balancing life and football.
Two dedicated fathers came to work at Paul Brown Stadium Wednesday morning and it just wasn't another day.
Both big men, defensive tackle Devon Still and left tackle Andrew Whitworth, arrived with virtually no sleep but energized by life.
Still returned from a two-day vigil of four-year-old Leah at Philadelphia Children's Hospital as she battles de-hydration during a three-week hospital stay that has ensued from her fifth bout of chemotherapy. Whitworth came directly from the hospital after wife Melissa delivered their fourth child, a baby girl named Katherine.
"I just came straight here to get the install," Whitworth said of Sunday's game plan. "The first 10 people that saw me didn't say congratulations, they asked me what the heck I was doing there."
As he does right after every home game, Still went back to Philadelphia. Excused from Monday's meetings, he also gets the Tuesday off day in Philly before leaving to come back to Cincinnati Tuesday night.
"I never get any sleep," Still said. "I'm in the hospital with my daughter by myself, so you kind of have to stay up with her through the night in case she starts throwing up in her sleep just to make sure that she's good."
The picture made the social media rounds Tuesday. Leah complete in uniform with stethoscope checking the heartbeat of her dad as he sat on her hospital bed.
"She wants to be a nurse when she grows up, so she asked me to get her a costume so she can play doctor," Still said.
Two dads. Two babies. One remarkable day.
Whitworth is proud of his wife's commitment to football. They had planned to induce between Sunday's game against Jacksonville and after next Thursday night's game against the Browns, but the labor pains came early, this Tuesday night. Naturally, an off day.
"Marvin (Lewis) sent her a text joking that she did it for the good of the team because she did it early," Whitworth said.
Still is coming off what he thinks is his best game of the season and you'd have to agree. His play on second down when he ran down Ravens running back Justin Forsett from the back side for a yard in the key quick three-and-out that set up the winning drive was huge.
But it hasn't been easy for a 25-year-old guy who has found himself in the national spotlight under the most draining of circumstances.
"I have to learn how to manage my time," Still said. "Getting enough rest. This whole fight with cancer, it affects every aspect of your life. You don't get as much sleep as you're used to, you're not eating right. You're going through different mood swings. Just learning how to manage all this with playing football. I think it will be easier as time goes on."
Whitworth didn't stay for practice, planning to spend the afternoon with wife and baby. Before Still went out to practice, he planned to call Leah, one of his three calls to her daily. When he arrives at PBS in the morning, he calls to wake her up and when he gets home from practice he calls for their longest conversation of the day.
On Thursday Leah undergoes a procedure to replace the feeding tube that causes her to keep throwing up. They are trying to put enough weight back on her so she can begin radiation treatments on Nov. 10.
"I asked her yesterday how it makes her feel. Going from being a normal kid to always having doctors around you. I wanted to know," Still said. "She doesn't really talk too much about it. She did say it makes her nervous. It makes her scared. But she understands what he she's up against. She's understands she's fighting cancer. She says she wishes it doesn't take so long. She's doing pretty well."
Two dads. Two babies. One team. A Wednesday to remember.