Following his birth on July 11, just in time for the 1989 NFL season, Bengals second-rounder Devon Still came home for the first time from the hospital dressed in a Steelers outfit.
"My dad grew me up into a Steelers fan," Still admitted after his introductory news conference at Paul Brown Stadium on Saturday. "Now I have the opportunity to try to wreak havoc on my favorite team. Yes, it is very ironic."
Maybe just as ironic is that Still, a defensive tackle from Penn State, has a Pittsburgh guy for a head coach in Marvin Lewis. In Lewis's first NFL season as a coach when he was heading up the Steelers linebackers in 1992, one of his rookies was a future two-time Pro Bowler in Levon Kirkland. Kirkland just happened to be Still's cousin.
"Another good second-rounder," Lewis said, when Kirkland was the 38th player that year coming out of Clemson.
Lewis knows Still waters run deep even though Still grew up in Delaware. Lewis made sure Still got No. 75, the number of every Pittsburgh kid's hero, Hall of Fame Steelers defensive lineman Joe Greene.
But make no mistake: Devon Still is a Bengal.
"This is a business," he said. "It's my job to help my team any way I can to win a game no matter who we play."
BURFICT IN FOLD: ProFootballTalk.com reported Saturday night that the Bengals have signed the first big college free agent in Arizona State middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict.
The 6-1, 248-pound Burfict is one of the most curious cases in recent draft history. He went from being a first-round pick to undrafted in a stunning small amount of time. He followed up 16 personal fouls in his last 26 games with a lackluster combine and on Thursday FOXsports.com reported he tested positive for marijuana at the combine.
But if anyone can get him to play within a system and under control, it is Lewis and defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. Lewis has close ties to Arizona State and was at the school's pro day last month.
The Bengals didn't draft any linebackers and are expected to load up on them in free agency, especially on the outside. Word is they're close to bringing in Arkansas State's Brandon Joiner, the Sun Belt Conference's Defensive Player of the Year after ranking fourth in the nation in sacks while also being among the national leaders in tackles for loss. Plus, a local product from Lakota West High School who played at Butler, Grant Hunter, may be on the way as well.
INSURANCE: On top of drafting Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones, the Bengals figure to sign three free agent wide receivers and why not? Some of it is insurance just in case slot receiver Jordan Shipley (ACL) needs more time to come back and starts the season on the physically unable to perform list (PUP), in which he wouldn't be able to practice for the first six weeks of the season.
It doesn't look like it's headed that way. He's already been catching routes from quarterback Andy Dalton and he says he thinks he can get on the field during team drills in late May. But the Bengals are clearly covering their bases.