Thursday, September 20, 2012

Throwback Thursday: Sam Mills

As Thursday nights prime time match up rapidly approaches between the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers I can’t help but  get excited for the game. As a long time Panther fan I have always loved when we are at home for night games in Charlotte. I can’t stop thinking about how our defense will perform vs. Eli Manning but I would love them to play with the same intensity and spirit of the late great Sam Mills.

Anybody who has a solid knowledge on the history of the Carolina Panthers knows how important Sam Mills was to our team. He was an important piece in the teams early years. Helping the Panthers reach the playoffs in 96 for the 1st time and defeating Troy Aikman and the Dallas Cowboys. When his career was finished he ended up with 5 Pro Bowls for his career and became a coach with the Panthers and was still making an impact. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2003 an assistant coach and the night before the Panthers would take on the Dallas Cowboys in Charlotte for a home playoff game he made a statement that would become the Panthers identity forever. In his speech Mills said “ When I found out I had cancer there were 2 things I could do- Quit or Keep Pounding”   .“I’m a fighter I kept pounding. You’re fighters too. Keep pounding!“ Following the awe inspiring speech the Panthers would dominate the Cowboys 29-10 en route to a Super Bowl run which saw them fall short to the New England Patriots 32-29. Despite that though Sam Mills remains an example of what Carolina Panther Football is and what every player who puts that black and Electric Blue should strive to be on and off the field. In 2005 He lost his battle to cancer and passed away. Although he is no longer with us in the flesh he remains a luminous presence in the Panther  Organization. On the inner collar of the players jerseys the phrase “Keep on Pounding” is embedded in there as well as the the weight room. If you really want that visual of Sam Mills then Look no further then his statue outside of Bank of America Stadium. Whether your winning or losing in the game on the gridiron or in the game of life all you can do is “Keep on Pounding”………R.I.P Sam Mills


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