On Thursday, April 21, 2005, we buried a true NFL warrior who was an inspiration off field and on field.
The man? Sam Mills, #51.
The Monday before, Sam lost a 2 year battle with intestinal cancer. Not only did he leave behind his wife and 4 kids but he left, not 1, but 2 legacies.
1st legacy-- Sam Mills was one of hardest hitting linebackers in USFL and NFL. But he spent his career proving that his undersized 5-foot-9 frame wasn't going to keep him from being one of pro football's best.
Not only was Mills a 5-time Pro Bowl linbacker but he holds distiction of being only player in Carolina Panthers Hall of Fame.
Add to that: A member of both New Jersey and Louisiana Sports Halls of Fame, as well as, a statue of Mills outside Bank of America Stadium with inscription "Leader and Gentleman."
**Sam Mills' former coach, Dom Capers**
"Sam Mills was not only one of finest football players that I have ever been around, but above and beyond that, he was one of finest individuals."
And, 2nd legacy of Sam Mills?
Sam, along with fellow Carolina linebacker Mark Fields, who was likewise diagnosed with cancer in 2003, established KEEP POUNDING fund.
The campaign raised more than $211,000 for local research at Blumenthal Cancer Center by selling $1 wristbands that bear Mills' slogan "Keep Pounding."
**From a fan and admirer of Sam Mills**
"I am Austin Wright and I am 10 years old. I began selling Keep Pounding bracelets in honor of my friend Jody Rodgers in fall. I sold over 200 bracelets for foundation, and I hope it helps with research. I will continue to sell bracelets in memory of Sam Mills. I hope this will help others. I pray for you everyday."