Former Panthers LB Sam Mills elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame
LOS ANGELES (WMBF) - A legendary former Carolina Panther will now live forever in football lore.
It was announced Thursday night that the late Sam Mills will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022.
Mills, a linebacker out of Montclair State University, joined the Panthers during the team’s expansion season in 1995 after a stint in the USFL led to eight seasons with the New Orleans Saints.
Mills became a veteran force on the team during his time in Carolina, starting every game during his tenure. He also helped clinch the Panthers’ first-ever regular-season win by intercepting a shovel pass and running it back for a touchdown against the New York Jets on Oct. 15, 1995.
Mills was a First-Team All-Pro selection in the 1996 season, and was also selected to his fifth Pro Bowl. He retired following that season, finishing his career with over 1,265 combined tackles, 20.5 sacks, 22 forced fumbles and 11 interceptions.
He went on to become a linebackers coach in Carolina from 1998-2004 following his retirement.
Mills is also credited with coining the Panthers’ catchphrase, “Keep Pounding,” while motivating the team during a 2003 playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Mills died in 2005 after a nearly two-year battle with intestinal cancer. His number 51 was the first retired by the Panthers in the season following his death. Mills was also the first player to be inducted into the team’s Hall of Honor.
He was also inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009.
The 2022 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony will be held later this year in Canton, Ohio.
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