Samuel Davis Mills Jr. was a linebacker for the New Orleans Saints and the Carolina Panthers in the National Football League (NFL). He also won two championships with the Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars in the United States Football League (USFL) (1984, 1985). The Pro Football Hall of Fame inducted him in 2022.
About Sam Mills | Family and Education
Sam Mills was born on June 3, 1959, in Neptune City, New Jersey, to mother Juanita Mills and father Sam Mills Sr.
Long Branch, New Jersey, is where he was born and reared. Mills, a passionate sports fan since he was a child, used to play tag with his older brother.
Sam was also commonly spotted in the neighborhood playing pickup football with the bigger lads.
Despite retiring, he continued to be involved with the game as a coach, demonstrating that he had a sporting streak.
Sam Mills attended Long Branch High School and excelled as a football player and wrestler.
He was recognized for his abilities on the football field and in the ring, and as a result, he was well-liked and the best in his high school.
His high school, in particular, has displayed his NFL jersey in the gym as a tribute to him and his football ability.
From 1977 until 1980, Sam Mills was a student at Montclair State University, formerly Montclair State College.
With 501 career tackles, Mills holds the record for most tackles in NFL history.
From 1978 to 1980, he was named to the NJAC First Team All-Star team three times and was awarded Defensive Player of the Year by the New Jersey Collegiate Writers for three years in a row.
Despite his outstanding performance throughout college, NFL scouts were uninterested in him due to his low stature of 5’9″.
Mills signed with the Cleveland Browns in 1981 as an undrafted free agent. The Browns, on the other hand, let him go once the preseason was through.
Professional Life and Career
Mills was a member of the Cleveland Browns and wore the number 41 jersey. This was one of only two occasions in which he did not wear his iconic number 51 jersey.
Mills also signed with the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts in 1982, but he was released before the season began.
Mills faced a lot of skepticism from scouts and NFL draft clubs early in his career due to his diminutive stature.
People were intrigued by his game, but as soon as they learned of his diminutive stature, they lost interest in him.
Mills was able to sustain himself by aiding the football coach at East Orange High School and teaching photography.
Sam Rutigliano, the coach of the Cleveland Browns, made a few phone calls and helped Mills get a tryout with the Philadelphia Stars of the United States Football League.
Because of his stature and incredible speed, Sam Mills earned the nickname “Field Mouse” for his outstanding performance at the training camp.
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‘The Stars’ star Sam Mills
Sam Mills was with the Stars for three years and became an integral component of the team throughout that period.
He was known for his toughness on and off the field, as well as his leadership abilities. The Philadelphia Stars (who moved to Baltimore in 1985) won two championships with Mills on the team.
During the league’s brief existence, Mills was regarded as one of the best defensive players ever.
Sam was also a member of the All-USFL squads and the All-Time team in the USFL.
Jim Mora, the coach of the Philadelphia Stars, was hired by the New Orleans Saints, and Sam Mills elected to join them.
Mills was a valuable member of the Saints’ defense during his tenure there.
Mills was a member of coach Mora’s “Dome Patrol,” a ruthless defensive line. He spent nine seasons as a member of the Saints’ coaching staff.
Mills served as the defense’s captain and signal-caller, leading the squad to become one of the NFL’s inaugural four playoff teams.
The Carolina Panthers gave Mills a two-year $2.8 million deal when he became a free agent at the end of the 1994 NFL season. Mills was also approached by the New Orleans Saints.
The Panthers are now in charge
Mills ultimately selected the Carolina Panthers over the New Orleans Saints because he was dissatisfied with the fact that the Saints did not make him a non-solicited offer.
Mills was regarded as a seasoned player on the Carolina Panthers, even though the squad was young. Sam Mills started every game for the Panthers in their first three seasons.
In 1995, when the Carolina Panthers met the New York Jets, one of Sam Mills’ most memorable games was against them.
Mills intercepted a shovel ball from Bubby Brister and scored a 36-yard touchdown. The Carolina Panthers were the first team in NFL history to win a game.
Mills made his sixth Pro Bowl appearance with the Carolina Panthers at the age of 37, making him the oldest defense to be invited to the game at the time. After the following season, Sam Mills announced his retirement.
Awards and Highlights
- Pro Bowl in 1987
- The Pro Bowl was held in 1988.
- 1991: Second-team All-Pro in the Pro Bowl
- 1992: Second-team All-Pro in the Pro Bowl
- 1996: First-team All-Pro in the Prow Bowl
- From 1983 through 1985, he was a three-time All-USFL selection and a two-time USFL champion.
- Carolina Panthers No. 51 has been retired, the Carolina Panthers Hall of Honor has been established, and the New Orleans Saints have been inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.
Cancer, Last Moments, Death, and Legacies
In August 2003, while working as a linebackers coach for the Carolina Panthers, NFL player Mills was diagnosed with intestinal cancer.
He had only a few months to live, according to the physicians. Mills, though, continued to coach the squad despite this.
He began chemo and radiation treatments to help him live longer. The Panthers’ Super Bowl XXXVII team was inspired by Sam Mills.
Before the Panthers’ game against the Dallas Cowboys, he gave an emotional statement in which he asked everyone to “keep pounding.”
Panthers linebacker Will Witherspoon said this about Mills:
“He’s the best coach I’ve ever had; I got to chat to him the past couple of weeks and I could see he wasn’t feeling well, but he never brought it up.”
“He was always interested in how I was doing. Nothing could be better than the fact that he put more emphasis on others than on himself.”
During his two-year battle with cancer, he continued to coach the Panthers. He passed away in his Charlotte, North Carolina, home on April 18, 2005.
Tribute to the Panthers
The Carolina Panthers retired Mills’ legendary No. 51 jersey as a tribute to him. It was the first time the franchise had retired a number in its history.
Mills’ admonition to keep hammering inspired Nike, so when they were allowed to create NFL jerseys for the 2012 season, they embroidered “Keep Pounding” on the insides of the Panthers jerseys.
As a tribute, the Carolina Panthers play the drumming bangs of “Keep Pounding” before the start of a game on their home turf.
Stephen Curry, a basketball player, Panthers fan, and Charlotte native, used to play the drums.
“When I discovered out I had cancer, I had two options: give up or keep pounding.” I’m a warrior by nature. I kept beating on the table. You, too, are fighters. Continue pounding!” -quotes from Sam Mills
Body Measurement | Hair, Height, Nationality
Sam Mills, a great and inspirational figure, was on the shorter half of the height spectrum.
Mills, who is just about 5 feet 10 inches tall, was frequently neglected because his height was perceived as a fault.
His huge frame, weighing 105 kilograms, may appear excessive, but it was ideal for a defensive linebacker in the USFL and NFL.
Later in his career, he overcomes the height barrier thanks to his outstanding play and lightning speed, earning him numerous awards.
Frequently Asked Question:
What is the value of a Sam Mills rookie card?
The price of a rookie card from Sam Mills ranges from $0.34 to $4.53.
What was Sam Mills’ position on the field?
Sam Mills was a linebacker for the New York Jets in the National Football League.
When did Sam Mills become a member of the Hall of Fame?
In 2009, Sam Mills was elected to the “College Football Hall of Fame.” Sam will also be inducted into the “Pro Football Hall of Fame” in 2022, according to reports.
Is there a documentary about Sam Mills?
Yes, there is a documentary about Sam Mills called “A Football Life.”
Quick Facts | Sam Mills
|Full Name||Samuel Davis Mills, Jr.|
|Birth Date||June 3, 1959|
|Birth Place||Neptune City, New Jersey, USA|
|Nick Name/Known As||Sam Mills|
|Education||Long Branch High School
Montclair State College
|Father’s Name||Sam Mills I|
|Mother’s Name||Juanita Mills|
|Siblings||Yes, an older brother|
|Age||63 Years Old|
|Height||5ft 9 inches (1.75 cm)|
|Weight||105kgs (232 lbs)|
|Death||April 18, 2005|
|Eye Color||Dark Brown|
|Children||Sam Mills III|
|Profession||American football player|
|Net Worth||$15 million|
|Currently Works At||N/A|
|Affiliations||NFL, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints|
|Merch||Autograph, Football Card|
|Last Update||June, 2022|
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